Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Week 9: We Didn't Start The Fire

      Goodbye Sister Haviland!

Birthday :]
Bye Sister Ray!  hello, creepin Elder Spence

  It's my golden birthday.  22 years old on
                   September 22nd!

Remember how I said the rains would come in due season?  This week was a monsoon.  Both literally and regarding missionary work.  I've never been happier or more excited about life.

Tangled? I will fix.
Sister Brimley really is a princess.  And no, she was not too good to be true.  She's basically a combination of Giselle from Enchanted and Rapunzel from Tangled with a little Snow White and Pocahontas in her - she has some sort of spiritual connection to willow trees I think.  Every time we pass one, or any tree for that matter, she has to touch it.  Also, I love her immensely for making sure we plan effectively, adhere to those plans, pray together often, and waste not a moment.  Sometimes, I show that love by making myself run in the mornings because she is an athlete and it makes her feel good (while it makes me feel dead), other times by manually untangling the knots in her beautiful red hair.  As pictured.

New companion!

Just as I suspected, with transfers came a change in the work.  What I didin't suspect was how immediate and amazing it would be.  We have one solid investigator, one part member family with kids more excited to learn from us than their parents, and we found a family headed by a stellar woman who desires to make hers an eternal one.  We've had two lessons with Jenn, who initially was just someone looking for a good church to go to and now, if nothing else, knows that we were put in her life at this time for a reason.  Her life is a whirlwind and we did our best to teach her a principle that I'd always taken for granted.  That God is her Father, that He loves her and knows her, and that He does both hear and answer prayers.  That's a principle we've been teaching a lot lately, that no matter your circumstance, no matter how long its been or what you've done in the meantime, your Heavenly Father wants to hear from you.  He wants you to pour out your soul to Him in prayer, because he cares.  Not only that, he wants to bless you with peace, with comfort, with love, and with whatever else you stand in need of, according to His will.
"...for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials and their troubles and shall be lifted up at the last day."
Sister Benjamin's Owl Towel
{Alma 36:3}
We taught this to the children of a less active member, who were not raised in the church, but who's Baptist friends have introduced them to the idea of God and Jesus Christ.  Their curiousity sparked when I told them that they could pray about anything, even help with tests, because of the nature of our relationship to God.  We taught this to the stellar woman I mentioned, who feels the exact same way about her children - our feelings for our families are a reflection of our Heavenly Father's feelings and desires for us. 
I know, right?  I've done so much teaching in the last week, probably as much as I've done the whole last transfer.  And I've been thinking a lot about an expression others missionaries use to describe the work in those areas that have been having a lot of more constant success - "It's on fire!" they say.  "This town is on fire.  This ward is on fire.  These missionaries are on fire."  But what does that take?  Are all these incinerating areas a result of freak lightning accidents, sent down by God's hand alone?  I don't think so.  Rather, I think he's been dousing every part of the mission field in gasoline, preparing it as He has promised.  So who starts the fire?  We do.  God placed the fire in our hearts when we, as missionaries or members, decided to serve and become a part of His great work.  So we as missionaries must be always holding torches, being that bright and set-apart standard, making our testimonies loud and present.  We must also be handing out matchsticks to members, for the desire is in them too.  They just need a task to do, an invitation given with love, a place to strike and drop the match.  Yesterday, for example, two less active sisters we'd been visiting finally came to church, because members of Relief Society had visited beforehand to make them feel welcome and loved before they even stepped that cautious foot back into a chapel.  Others have accompanied us to lessons a couple times, offering little more than sincere friendship and humble testimony to back us up.  And maybe these are just matches, just trifles, but drop a match in the right place and the flames will jump and spread.  Shreveport can be on fire too, I truly believe that.  We just have to start it.
The Shreveport Sisters
"Teach them never to be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls."
{Alma 37:34}
Ain't that the truth.  With all the walking, and planning, and prayer, and diligence, and keeping time commitments, and spiritual exertion, I've never slept better in my life.  Be not weary in your pursuit of obedience, and you will never be weary in spirit.  Keep your good desires burning, and your Father in heaven will prepare a place and way for it to give light.
Sister Valdez

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