Dear President Chausow (woah, weirdness)-
Haha I just had to try that out and see how it sounded. It seems like you have an amazing spiritual experience with your new calling and setting apart. I wish I could've been there to hear you speak. Mom sent me your Christmas talk, and I got verklempt while reading it! I will be using those stories - your story about service and the lower lights story - which happens to be the name of a really great band - a lot as we work with members. I love the idea of Christ being the lighthouse and us being the lower lights. It's an awesome analogy and it's inspired me to shine as brightly as I can.
So I am now with Sister Biver (bee-VAIR) from France. She is so awesome - she helps me to stay positive and not take things too seriously. I didn't realize how burdened/down/intense I was getting until she got here and we started singing together and smiling and planning with faith. It's been awesome. She's helped me to lighten up already and this week I'm going to try to help her get over her fear of tracting. I have come to know that tracting brings miracles - maybe not through the actual door knocking, but when the Lord sees your willingness to do hard things, he blesses you in other ways to find those who are prepared.
Speaking of miracles, here are a few we saw this week:
-Sister Biver and I clicked instantly. I am so excited to work with her. She is a lot of things that I am not, and we really compliment each other and love and respect each other. We have been blessed with an instant unity that I am not worthy of but I am oh so grateful for.
-J, the inactive mom of our two investigator friends, Robert and Vivian, came to church. Missionaries have been working with this woman for years, and she hasn't been to church in at least 3 years. When she did come, she would come drunk because she was so nervous and scared to be in a spiritual environment. But miraculously, because of the love of members and the constant efforts of missionaries and because of the grace of God, J miraculously showed up to Relief Society yesterday. And she said afterwords "I felt like I knew everybody. I felt so at home. I don't know why I was so scared to come back." My heart swelled with joy to see this lady who I love so much in the chapel. I got to sit by her and we were taught together and the Spirit was just poured out in the lesson. J loved the lesson and the teacher and said that she felt the Spirit so strongly. Her kids are getting baptized on May 3, and I have faith that as they progress in the gospel, J will come with them.
-R, an amazing investigator that came out of nowhere (tracting brings blessings!) got consent from her husband to be baptized. The man who had previously mocked her decision to be baptized into other churches and who has no belief in God gave his willing consent, and he had good things to say about the Mormon church. Apparently, two sister missionaries had tracted him out previously, and although he didn't let them in, he later told R "If anyone has the truth, those girls have it." I wish I could contact those sisters in Texas and tell them that their tracting wasn't time wasted, and I want to tell them not to give up - their efforts bring fruit even though they won't see it. And the same is true for all of us. We may get a no at the door, but we don't know what is said or done behind those doors we knock on.
-The Lord have poured understanding and charity for Elder Smith into my heart. I was so scared when I found out he was my district leader - I was like "Oh no, not again. I don't want to have to be angry and annoyed and repenting all the time again." This is my natural man response to Elder Smith. But thankfully, Heavenly Father has enable the divine within me and has helped me to have a love and understanding for this Elder that is no my own. Through the grace of God I am coming to find peace. Careful study and application of Elder Zwick's talk from conference has helped a lot too, and it's a miracle that that talk came when it did.
These are the big miracles from the week, but there was also the beautiful weather, we got a new car, I'm learning my way around Metairie better, Sister Monk got to go to Covington which she was super excited and happy about, we parted on good terms, Sister Biver is helping me smile more, we have developed a better relationship with the Kenner sisters, I have been able to get up on time more often, my mom sent a cd that really uplifts me, Easter was yesterday, the "Because of Him" video has been an amazing finding tool and it helps me feel closer to the Savior every time I watch it, and I could go on and on. We are surrounded by miracles, we just need the eyes of faith to see them.
Also, thank you for sharing what you learned from PMG this week! I've studied Chapter 12 a lot to know how to prepare the S's and Rfor baptism. I haven't really actually prepared anyone to actually be baptized, so I needed a refresher...Also, do you remember that article you sent a while ago abou how to be a successful missionary? A quote from that, which is a modified quote from PMG, has become my battle cry -
"As I worked on strengthening my faith, I found the positive form of the statement from Preach My Gospel to be true: if you raise your expectations, your effectiveness will increase, your desire will grow, and you will be able to follow the Spirit better. Additionally, I was more optimistic about missionary work and my missionary service when I could recognize and appreciate the miracles that happened daily."
I know that as we have eyes and faith to see miracles, we will see the Lord carrying us. And that is the glorious message of the Restoration!
I love you so much and I know that you, with the Lord's help, will do amazingly well in your new calling! Have a great week!