Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week 72: Finding Fruit By Feel

For your listening pleasure, I've attached a song I partly re-wrote.  The elders think they can just call me and ask me to learn a song so I can play and sing it for them.  Well apparently they can, because I did it.  The last two verses you'll notice allude to the Book of Mormon, because I didn't like the originals and wrote up new ones.  It's a rough recording, but yknow, it's me.  Merry Christmas!

This week was not what I'd call smooth.  More what I'd call "chastening."  Both by the Spirit, and by the zone leaders and our mission president.  Of course, when the mission president does it, you can't hardly tell because he loves you so much and smiles so much you basically chasten yourself in his presence.  What I learned, is that I need to apply more faith in my work.  Faith to find when we tract, not just tract for obedience sake.  Faith to talk to strangers outside of tracting. Faith to apply principles that are in Preach My Gospel that I failed to continue with just because they didn't work the first time.  Faith to not sleep in for five minutes in the morning (for some reason that makes an actual difference.)  From the zone leaders however, it was a more direct, "Your numbers last month were terrible, find more people."  So yeah.  We're recommitted to finding.  We know they're out there.  We just gotta be more diligent about seeking them out.  When you're teaching one or two elect people, it's easy to forget that you need to be replenishing your teaching pool now, not after the baptisms happen and you're like "ok cool now what."

21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
 22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people. [Mosiah 23]

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.  [Hebrews 12]

Yeah!  Peaceable fruit!  So with this new attitude, we found someone this week!  Really chill young man who agreed to hear our message out on the front step, since we couldn't go in.  He accepted the Book of Mormon with a smile, "Hopefully this will lead me to something fresh and good."  He wasn't actually on the street we'd chosen to tract, but on a little court connected to it.  Lately, I've felt that our work has been more led by the Spirit, as to where we go.  It really helps me feel more at peace while we tract, instead of nervous.  Feels like I'm in the right place.  And then sometimes there's fruit.

So either we've become more sensitive to the Spirit's promptings, or I'm simply remembering to listen more often.  We listened the other night.  Anyone who knows me well knows I run by logic, not by feel.  For me, feelings are hard to trust.  But since the Spirit so often comes by feelings, I'm learning to trust it.  We decided to go visit a sister who comes to church sometimes, when her health allows, and when we got there she told us she'd just gotten out of the hospital the night before and was awaiting two priesthood holders to come give her a blessing.  They came a few minutes later, and administered the blessing.  She asked us sisters to sing her a Christmas song - she loves Christmas more than anyone I know, has an entire movie case full of Christmas movies and her house is cluttered with holiday decor - so we sang a couple Christmas hymns for her.  The room was very still and the feeling very reverent, as the Spirit entered to comfort her.  It was very sweet, and especially for us just to know that we'd been led there at the right time.  The Lord knows His sheep.  Find by feel, and ye shall find.

Last night we got to go to the Gulfport Stake Christmas fireside.  Made me miss going to the one in Anaheim, hearing Dad sing with the Chorale.  In Slidell ward, our choir did our best, probs had angelic help for performance time.  I loved being able to sing with them though, got us super ready for Christmas.  Every ward choir that performed was made up of mostly, if not all, full time missionaries.  I don't know why, we all either sing or learn to on the mission.  Part of the calling, I guess.  There was an amazing trio, two little boys and their dad who played Jingle Bells and Silver Bells, bluegrass style with guitar, fiddle, and banjo.  It was pretty incredible.  And then our extremely dignified Stake President, in the middle of his closing remarks, busted out Cajun Night Before Christmas and read it in his best Deep South accent.  It's about Santa coming down the bayou on a skiff pulled by alligators with French names.  Had the whole stake laughing, esp when he ended saying "I was going to do this two years ago but decided to wait until right before I got released, because what could they do?"  I do love our leaders.  Our hearts were lightened and the Spirit remained with us as he closed with a testimony of the Savior.  Christmas is the best thing ever.

Speaking of Christmas, I'ma call ya'll on Thursday morning, the 25th, around 9am your time.  Then we'll coordinate when to Skype.  I was planning on morning, but let me know when Cassie will be on so we can do what we did on Mother's day.  I won't be emailing you next Monday because we're foregoing P-day in light of the holiday (part of the whole sacrifice/consecration thing).  So await my call :]

Sister Valdez

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