Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 12, 2014

Hey, I know I just talked to yall yesterday but I just wanted to say that I love yall so much and thank you for spending time with me yesterday. 

Mom, I hope I didn't hurt your feelings with the package thing. I want you to know that I just love love LOVE everything you sent and I'm so deeply grateful to have a mom that would support me so thoroughly like you do. I'll email you next transfer (June!) and let you my new address if I get transferred and a few things I need. For me, it's been hard to stay focused and not count the days or weeks or months. And it's a weird internal conflict - I'm so excited to come home and be with you all but I want to stay and just do this work for ever. I guess I can't have my cake and eat it too :)

The elders that I wanted you to send a package to are Elder Steele and Elder Watkins. They are the office elders, and those poor guys are just so awesome to do all the grunt work while we get to be out doing fun stuff like studying and teaching and finding people to share the gospel with and working with members and all of that. I know they could use some loving, especially as they will be crucial in help the mission make a transition from one mission president to the next. They need some lovin, and there's nobody better at helping people feel loved than my mama! You can send it to the same address as Elder Hansen-
12025 Justice Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

Thanks for being so amazing! I hope I can continue to work hard and make y'all proud! And make the Lord proud :)

Love, Sister Chausow

PS: Here is my letter to President Wall for the week. It just has some cool stuff I learned in my studies and ideas that I'm trying to internalize.

Dear President-

I would like to redefine failure. The world defines failure as "something that falls short of what is required or expected." I would like to tweak this a little bit - I believe that failure is "something that falls short of what is required or expected RIGHT NOW but works towards the success of the Lord's work in the future." As a missionary, I realized that I need to change by paradigm. I've been studying the lives of the prophets in the Bible and the Book of Mormon and I've found some patterns that were not clear or apparent to me before. None of these men had perfect lives. They struggled, they got discouraged, they faced opposition, just like us. But what sets them apart and helped them qualify for exaltation is their exceeding faith, diligence, obedience, and endurance despite their circumstances. I think we underestimate the power of persevering with a good attitude. That is how the war against Satan is won. Sure, he may win a few battles here and there, but the war will be won in each of our lives and for the kingdom of God as a whole when we learn to just keep going, not give up, smile, and maintain our faith in God. This goes a long with one of my favorite poems:
"It's easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows by like a song, 
But the man worthwhile is 
    one whole will smile,
When everything goes dead wrong." -Ella Wheeler Wilcox
This is true success. It is not when life DOESN'T meet expectations. It is when a person maintains their faith despite the lack of met expectations. Here are some examples of prophets whose lives weren't so perfect, and yet their maintained their faith and just kept going.

1 Nephi 3-4
Nephi has to try 3 times to get the plates (he is robbed and beaten in the process) and he still maintains his testimony and keeps the Spirit with him.

1 Nephi 16:14-32
Nephi's bow breaks, and yet he doesn't murmur once. How do I respond when I run out of alotment money and "can't obtain food"? Hopefully like Nephi :)

2 Nephi 4 (specifically verses 1-5)
Nephi's prayers are not answered in the way he hopes, but he is obedient and builds up a new society as best as he knows how.

Mosiah 23 and 24
Alma and his people (all newly baptized converts) are betrayed and taken captive. Yet their faith and conversion is strengthened through this experience.

Alma 14:7-10
Alma and Amulek's converts are stoned, cast out, and burned with the scriptures and they are forced to watch. Satan was probably like "Haha you failed!" and they probably felt that a little bit themselves. But then they go to the land Sidom, heal Zeezrom, gain a new missionary companion and are able to do much good ministering to the aching hearts of their converts/rescued members. 

Alma 26:27-30
Ammon and his brother have a rough 14 year mission and yet it is so worth it.

Alma 31: 3-7, 35:10-11
Alma and his brethren are unsuccessful in their objective to reclaim the most apostate Zoramites and and fail to prevent discension/collaboration with the Lamanites. This brought war to the Nephites, but it also brought a ton of converts (Alma 62:17 and 27, 41, 45, 49). It's interesting because Helaman tried to preach the gospel before the war but people just weren't listening (Alma 45:21-24, 46:6) but after the war, we see a great outpouring of the Spirit. 

That's as far as I've gotten in my study. Today I was reading in the New Testament and found some awesome examples of "failure"/triumph in the disciples of Christ's ancient church. I am coming to truly understand the definitions of true success and true failure. Our ward council has really been pushing us for numbers and baptisms, and it's cause me to have a warped sense of success and failure. But the Lord has taught me the true eternal nature of these two concepts through the Spirit and through the scriptures, and it's changing me. I've changed the way I pray - instead of asking just to find those who are prepared to receive the gospel NOW I pray that we can be instruments in the hands of the Lord to nurture and cultivate and plant and harvest in whatever manner His children need. I am a utility player for the Lord - I can help prepare the hearts of the people to receive the gospel later - we can knock on doors and get rejected and still feel happy because we can know that no effort is wasted. We can be turned down, dropped, or accepted and it will all be good. I'm here to do whatever the Lord needs. I recognize that everyone is at a different place in their spiritual journey home to God, and I recognize that if I don't help baptize anyone else while I'm here, I am not a failure, because I will be working hard, warring a good warfare, obediently and faithfully enduring until the last day of my mission and the last day of my mortal life. This is a good and comforting knowledge/conviction to have.

-Sister Chausow

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