Hello to my mom and dad who I love with all my heart-
This week was crazy/good/fun/super hot. Highlights include:
-Our last meeting with President and Sister Wall. Super emotional. So so good. I love them with all my heart, and I know that we were meant to serve together. In our specialized training meeting, they kind of reviewed some of the fundamental principles that they've been trying to emphasize over the last year in a half. I think if I took nothing else away, it is that Heavenly Father loves me, the worth of my soul is great in His sight, He sent His Son, my brother, to die for me, and because of that sacrifice I am literally never alone. It was super powerful, and I'm so thankful that two people who I love so much would take time to emphasize over and over again concepts that my mortal mind has trouble grasping.
-Went on a super quick, last minute exchange with the Sister Training Leaders. I stayed in Metairie with Sister Brady and Sister Biver went to Houma with Sister Wheeler. It was a quiet 24 hours, but it's all good. Last time I was on exchanges with Sister Brady I was working through some drama and it was like serious recovery mode. This time life is flowing along much more smoothly and I think Sister Brady didn't know what to do with a normal, sane Sister Chausow haha bless her heart. It was fun to see Sister Wheeler for a bit - she is one of my favorite sisters ever. She is going home next week and I'm sad because I keep "losing" my best friends haha. Oh well, I just get to move on and make more friends!!!
-E and M made it to the temple and got endowed and sealed. It was a crazy day at the temple because there were 7 live endowments, 2 of whom just showed up ready to do their initiatory and endowments, and so there wasn't enough room for all the friends from the ward who came to support E and M. It was interesting to be an escort - It felt really awesome to focus on someone else during the session and just be looking out for someone else's needs. Interestingly, I got a TON of revelation for myself and things that I've been thinking about, and I think that's kind of how Heavenly Father works - when you are willing to put others' needs in front of your own, He blesses you even more than you give. The sealing was super cool - that was the first time I've been to a sealing, and so to hear the super cool covenants and blessings pronounced by the sealer was a really awesome spiritual experience. It made me more determined than ever to seek for a TEMPLE marriage after the mission. All those ginormous weddings in tv shows and movies just cant compare with the 10 minute sealing ordinance performed in temples. Hands down.
-President Hansen and Sister Hansen are here! Hooray! We met them this morning at Zone Conference. He is very different in his style but no different at all in his love for missionaries. Sister Hansen as well is different in personality but just has so much love and desire to serve the missionaries. They are super amazing and they want to help us raise our vision and help us to help people become converted. That is something President Hansen said over and over - "We want converts, not baptisms." I was like woah, that's super cool! I wish he could talk to our ward leaders...we had ward missionary coordination yesterday and there was this sense of gears grinding together. Clash of forces if you will. The missionaries want to go one way and the members/ward mission leader wants us to go another and it's something that needs fixing. It's interesting - I wonder if the Lord will leave me in Metairie another transfer so we can try to work on it more (I thought we were working on it but it became apparent yesterday that we need to communicate better and change tactics...) or if I'm going to leave and maybe another missionary can come help get things aligned better. I'm willing to do what the Lord asks either way. I just crave unity, so if I stay we will probably need to have another meeting and talk it all out. Elder Smith has been here almost 9 months and he's content to just keep going like it's been going but I'm not satisfied with that. We have no control over the elders, but we can at least make our own efforts to reach out, communicate our concerns, and humbly seek to work better with members. I know that a lack of unity only brings frustration, which just isn't fun. Sorry about that ramble/rant... :)
-Friday is the 4th of Joo-lye and it's also pday (because we had zone conference today) but we still got to email today because the library will be closed on the 4th. I'm excited to have a day to relax and not worry about emailing or cleaning the apartment or car (all of that has to be done today/wednesday for inspection purposes). Also, transfers are next week and I'm excited to see what happens. Sister Biver and I are still doing great together. I I really feel like one reason I was supposed to serve a mission is to learn to accept imperfection. I feel like Heavenly Father won't let me be a parent until I at least kind of learn this lesson. I've always been super hard on myself and super hard on others, and I'm learning that some how God loves us no matter where we are on our path to perfection. In my mind it's always been "I'm either perfect or completely terrible/useless/a waste." This is NOT how God sees things - He has patience and He sees potential, and that's the lens we need to see our own children through, and our spouses through, and our friends, and complete strangers. This is the essence of love and charity - loving and accepting and caring for a soul, a child of God. Recognizing true identity and endlessly loving and serving are what charity is all about. So basically, as I've learned to be ok with mistakes and flaws and defects, I've learned about the pure love of Christ, and I hope to be able possess some small part of that love by the end of my mission so that I can cultivate that seed of love throughout the rest of my life.
I just wanted to thank you both for showing me such awesome examples of love. All of the service, the kind words, the staying till the church is totally clean after an activity, the endless dedication to God and family, all of these things are just illustrations of the love for God and for all men which burns in your hearts. You are amazing examples to me, and I'm filled with gratitude because God sent me to your family. Thank you for making and keeping the marriage covenant and for loving me no matter what. Y'all the best! :)