Loved your email! Thanks for brightening my day! Your update was awesome :)
So sorry your recovery is going slowly. I'll be praying for you! Did you have a priesthood blessing?
Poor Sinos. Breaking hearts since 1997. Maybe now she won't date exclusively til she's older....?
Haha hooray for Caitlyn! The victoria secret model girl! What a blessing! Heavenly Father really does hear and answer prayers! I loved the Lisa Frank pics she sent me. I had a good laugh and then I hung them on my fridge.
Dad is the freakin' man, isn't he? Love that guy. Hope John gets a good dose of Vitamin D while he's in Arizona.:)
E, the guy that was supposed to get baptized on the 11th is no longer progressing and doesn't really want to get baptized. He's just been telling us what we want to hear. It's really sad, but the Lord sent us two new investigators when we lost that one, so really, when the Lord closes one door he opens another! Or two!
Also, D and her girls came to Stake Conference! And she talked to them about getting baptized! It's so awesome! She really enjoyed Elder Godoy (he is a member of the 70 that came. He's from Brazil and he is seriously a rock star) and hopefully his words helped motivate her to go forward. R loved getting your card in the mail! Thanks for loving those who I love so much!
K, sorry this email is so short. I will try to write a longer letter. For now though I will copy and paste my president's letter. I've been learning some super awesome stuff. I really feel like Heavenly Father is trying to shape me and help me reach my full potential and I love who I'm becoming.
Love you more than all the gators in loosiana!
PS: Transfers are not this wednesday but next wednesday, so you can send the package this week, it would get here in time. And yeah, the panic attacks are not bugging me at all. If I start to feel a little panicky, I lay down, take a quick power nap, and then get back to work, and I feel fine. It's a miracle!
PPS: Could you please ask Kath Teufel what she wants me to do with the Christmas decs she sent? Should I send them back to her? Should I give them away? I can do either, it's no problem, just want to do the right thing. :)
Dearest President Wall-
First of all, thank you for your comments in Stake Conference. They reinforced what I had been learning and thinking about service, and how missionary work is really just the Savior's work.
In my quest to be happy, I have decided to study charity. My district has helped me to see that I need to work on being more charitable, and that sometimes my love of the work has gotten in my way of the love of the people. It really should be one and the same but my desire to serve effectively has gotten a little bit in the way of my ability to serve lovingly. I want to serve effectively because I love the people so much and I love the Lord so much, but that doesn't mean I has to be brusque and bossy and I go. So as a sub-heading to "Charity and Love," I have decided to studying "Communicating with charity," since this is what the Spirit has been telling me to work on over the course of the last few days. I love how Elder Godoy communicated with our stake - lovingly, encouragingly, but not complacently. He said "Thank you for all the wonderful service you do, your stake is amazing at fulfilling callings....but we need to share the gospel." He wasn't harsh, he wasn't bossy, he was loving and direct, and that is how the Savior encourages and teaches us too. It's a pattern for communication that I want to adopt. As I pondered in my studies this morning about how I can change the way I communicate, I came up with 6 ideas that i want to apply over the next month/transfer:
1.) Study "communication" and "speech" in the scriptures using the Topical Guide.
2.) As you continue to read the Book of Mormon, look for ways in which the prophets communicated with their people/family. Apply what you learn throughout the week.
3.) Ask you companion for help. Agree on some sort of signal that she can give you in order to let you know when you are starting to get bossy, rude, or too blunt.
4.) Make a list of bossy/negative statements that you've said in the past and rewrite them to be more loving and Christlike. Apply your rewrite in meetings and conversations.
5.) Memorize D&C 121: 41-43 and what about it says in your patriarchal blessing about your "gift of influence" (I'm told that I have the gift of influence, and that I use this gift - "always being positive, encouraging, and uplifting, I will make a great contribution to this the Lord's church") and repeat it in your head throughout the day.
6.) Study the words of modern prophets to learn more about loving communication.
This morning I did #2, 3, and 4, and I'm so excited. This is what true repentance is all about! I started this whole thing with a simple prayer - I asked heavenly Father to forgive me for my sins/weakness in how I communicate with others. I asked Him to change my heart, and help make my weakness into a strength through the Atonement of Christ. I asked Him to purify and sanctify me (this whole communication thing came in part because of my 40 day fast and trying to really change somethings that I do that turn down the volume). And then I made my list of 6 ways to improve. And I felt the Spirit as I did. Sometimes when I feel the Spirit, it's not a burning or warm feeling and i don't cry, it's more of this excited, enthusiastic feeling like, "Yeah, I can do this! I'm so excited to be on the right track! I know I'm not alone! Hooray!" and when I was 12, I told my dad how sometimes I get this feeling, especially after doing baptisms in the temple, and he helped me to see that that is the Holy Ghost. (Side note: I'm so thankful that he pointed that out to me early, because then I've been able to recognize the Holy Ghost for what it is. What a great opportunity we have as missionaries to be guides for others - helping them to recognize the Spirit so that they can come to recognize it for themselves and in so doing see the truthfulness of the gospel.)
So anyways, as I made this plan, I was feeling the Spirit, and then when i put it in action, I felt the Spirit even more. I started reading where i am in the Book of Mormon - the Isaiah chapters - wondering what on earth I could learn from Isaiah about communication. And I came to the one chapter in this section that I feel like I have some solid understanding of, thanks again to my dad's teaching. 2 Nephi 16/Isaiah 6 says, "Then said I: Wo is unto me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." And I was like, oh man, here we go again, the Book of Mormon relating perfectly to my real life situation. I feel like i have unclean lips too! As I read on, I felt even more connected to this ancient prophet - "Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar; And he laid it upon my mouth, and said: Lo, this has touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also, I head the voice of the Lord, saying: Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said: Here am I; send me." My dad explained to me that the live coal and the burning it would bring is a symbol of purification and cleansing. And I realized that I am doing exactly what Isaiah did - I am recognizing my weakness, I am trying to purify myself through the Atonement and repentance/change, and in doing so, I will be able to respond when the Lord calls, full of confidence that I am worthy to serve. I have lots of good leadership qualities and lots of good ideas, but the way I coomunicate has impeded me from being the best servant I could be. As I try to refine myself through my own selfmastery and through the grace of God, I will become a better, more profitable servant. Like I said, I'm filled with the Spirit and so excited for this change! And I'm so humbled and thankful that my Savior would atone for my sins, because I recognize that without Him, change would not be possible. I am incapable of it on my own. I will gladly sing praises to his name forever because He has done for me what I could not do for myself - paid the price so that i can be clean, be cahnged, and be exalted. It doesn't get anymore exciting than that!
One more cool thing. After I had studied and learned and pondered about all these things, we then had companionship study. I have been a little discouraged about the quality of our companion studies, so i have been working on myself and trying to be more engaged, give more feedback, and give more ideas for activities that we can do from Preach My gospel/with the pamphlets/etc... And so Sister Lucherini was sharing what she learned from Alma 34:15-16, and as I tried to truly listen to her and understand what she was saying and trying to really learn, these verses came alive. I realized that the Lord was confirming that He was pleased with my plan. The verses say: ""And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, ... therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption." i felt like the Lord was saying "Look! You had enough faith in me to try to change using my atoning power. And because you are acting and repenting, I can shield you from justice! You are encircled about by my arms - the arms of mercy and safety."
President, I am so thankful for the Holy Ghost, through which the Lord communicated all of this with me. I am so thankful for my FAther in Heaven, who sent me to this earth to learna dn grow and go through hard times. I fill that as I'm repenting and becoming more Christlike, I am truly fulfilling the whole measure of my creation. This is why I'm here on earth - to grow. As Elder Thompson said, growth can be painful - just like having a live coal in your mouth is painful, but it is so worth it. And it you let the Lord shape and change you, you can trust that no pain you suffer will be wasted - it will all be for a purpose.
I love this gospel, and I'm so thankful that i can change and grow into a better servant of my Lord and of my fellow men. Thank you for supporting me in my growth and in my service. Love serving with you!