Hello to my Mama!
Man, you are just amazing - off rescuing everyone, braving the bad weather, and getting a college degree in the process. No worries about last week, it's all good. I'm so excited to see you on Wednesday! I think it's going to happen around 2pm. Sorry to make you wait so long but I'm trying really hard to put others first this Christmas because it just feels so dang good :)
Glad you got the package! You can open it - everything inside is wrapped. I feel bad because I didn't get Gramps and Nana anything - didn't know they would be there. I did send them a Christmas card in the mail. Hope you can smooth that over for me :/
So, I have to update you on one thing and then the rest we will just talk about on Wednesday. So I had another panic attack last week and it was the worst one I'd had in about 6 months and the third I'd had in 2 weeks. So Sister Tiller (one of the Sister Trainer Leaders in our zone) convinced me to call President Wall even though I didn't want to /didn't think it would make a difference/didn't want to bother him, etc. So I did call and this is what he told me:
"You are going to learn to deal with Panic Attacks on your mission. The one you had on tuesday will not be your last one and the next one will probably be a little worst." And I was like, oh great, thanks a lot President, that's not what I wanted to hear haha. But he gave me coping strategies to use, told me to keep working, and make sure I get the rest I need at night and on P-Day. Also, that I need to take 10-15 power naps. He also said not to spend time analyizing triggers or trying to avoid the triggers of a panic attack. Good advice! But really, I'm so glad to have a mission president that would be honest and up front with me. Who would tell me that I CAN do hard things, and help me face the problem instead of run from it. I really like this quote from President Monson's talk in conference:
" Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.8
Sinces Tuesday, I've been studying trials and chastening, and I've realized that when you are being obedient and bad things happen, it is evidence that the Lord loves you and is taking the time out of His busy schedule to refine and purify you into who you can be.
So basically, right now, I am feeling like, "bring it on. I am in the Lord's service, He will not fail me nor forsake me, and with his Help and mercy I can overcome all things." I'm thankful that I had this attitude, because then on Sunday, another bad thing happened. This is from my letter to President this week (I meant to put it in Dad's email too but I forgot so you'll have to let him read it too) -
"After going through a really rough time on Tuesday with the whole panic attack thing, and feeling the aftershocks, and then talking to you, I was feeling humble, apprehensive, but determined to press forward with the work here. Going home simply is not an option for me any more. I've burned that boat and I will press forward to the end, no matter how hard things get and no matter what struggles come my way. The Lord can depend on my to serve my full time in Louisiana and to give my all while I am here. That resolve was then tested on Sunday - we had a lesson with two of our investigators, twin sisters whose mom is inactive and whose stepdad isn't a member. I walked out of the lesson feeling devasted - my heart literally felt like it was breaking. The girls hadn't retained anything we'd been teaching them and they had told me that they feel bad when the missionaries come over because they never keep the commitments we give them. I left feeling with a mix of guilty, discouraged, asking why, frustrated, and distraught. I was so disappointed in the girls mom - we had kind of stepped back from teaching the girls because we realized that without their mom's support, the girls would never progress or progress extremely slowly, and so we started working with the mom, trying to help rekindle the flame she felt when she was baptized 20 years ago. And so when we started working with the girls again we found that the mom hadn't done anything and the girls had slipped backwards from where they were two weeks ago. Like I said, I was pretty devastated, and I started thinking about just calling the mom and saying, "D, please call us when you are ready to get back into the Gospel. Until then, nothing we do to help your daughters will make a difference." As I was thinking that, though, the Spirit whispered to me that that is a lie, that what we are doing IS making a difference. And so during studies this morning, I read talks and scriptures with this family in mind, knowing that we need to continue to work with them, but having no idea what else we could do. And as I studied, the Spirit again whispered to me that we need to teach D about what it means to endure to the end, an angle I had never thought about before. So we texted her a few verses that the Spirit led me to and she said she will read them. President, I feel like if I had not been becoming more converted, this experience would've shaken me and a few months ago I would've given up on this family. But I've learned that true diligence is never giving up on anyone. As long as someone will still let you into their house, you keep going over there, and if you have the Spirit with you, you can't go wrong. I feel that if as a mission we hadn't been working on being more Spirit -led, I might've missed the subtle promptings as to what to teach D or I would've accepted my negative thoughts as truth. I have come to know that the following quote is true:
"...The acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding."
This morning, I was honestly inquiring about what to do for this family who I love so much. And now I have the beginnings of understanding as to what to do to help them. I don't have everything - all the answers, all the lesson plans, all the words to say or commitments to extend - but I have enough to keep going. And I feel myself becoming more refined in the process. The gospel is truly a gospel of change, and as we help others to change we become new creatures ourselves. And of course, this is all through the Atonement of our Savior."
The gospel is just the greatest thing, and I feel the Atonement strengthening me and helping me keep on keeping. I truly would not be here right now if not for the strengthening power of the Atonement.
So family, that is it all the nitty gritty of my experiences this week! Love you more than all the snow in Wisconsin!
See you Wednesday!