Hello family and friends! It's been a good week! Better than last week and I'm learning a lot. We're having transfers today, but sister Gonzalez and I are staying in Escondido together! Super super exciting! Although the area has been a little slow, we're ready to keep working hard and finding those people that are prepared. Actually a few days ago we had an area book crash and so all the plans we had we couldn't see because the app wouldn't open. So we kind of just had to go by memory the plans that we set. We remembered one name in particular that we knew would only be available on saturdays so we went to go knock in his door and it has been months since we've seen him, and he answered! He has a lot of questions about the Bible. He didn't really grow up with a lot of religious background, so when he got married his wife taught him how to read by reading the Bible. So he knows the Bible really well but sometimes gets the context of the scriptures mixed up because he didn't grow up with that strong Christian background like most people, which is kind of sad, but luckily he agreed to learn more! I think it's going to be a neat experience to teach him.
Well, this week I think I had my first "breakdown" in the mission. It wasn't too bad, I just think I needed to cry. For the past two to three transfers I had been holding a lot of my feelings in. My companions have been people that really need a lot of love and support for the things they go through, so I kind of thought to myself it would be better for me not to be struggling, than to have two sister missionaries feeling stressed. I read a quote from President Monson that says, "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." I didn't want my problems to become something more important than the love my companion needed, so I just kind of swallowed down the feelings that I had and continued moving. But after weeks and weeks of this happening I had a trunk full of feelings down in my heart that I was carrying around with me. Until one day in the car my companion asked if I was okay, and I said I was fine, but we waited there in silence a little bit and the tears slowly began to emerge from my eyes. I told her everything that I had been feeling, and that I was really trying to apply being selfless and using the healing atonement to somehow magically take away the things I was feeling. Unfortunately this is not how the atonement works. By trying to be selfless and make it appear that I was a person without problems, that turned out to make me even more lonely than I was before. I came to learn that I am not a problem to be solved, but a person that needs love as well. I have come to know that God loves his children, and I love his children too. I feel so much better now that I have experienced the love God's children have for me as well. I'm so grateful for the baptismal covenant we made to "to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light... to mourn with those that mourn...comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places..." because I have been blessed and healed by the comfort others have offered me in times of hardship. So no worries I'm doing really great now! And I'm grateful for this experience to help me understand the real healing power of the atonement and the love people really have for their fellow men. I guess it was appropriate to understand the love of the Lord and the love from his children the week before Valentine's Day.
Yesterday in sacrament meeting I had to give a talk on missionary work! It was super scary but it turned out really well. I'm amazed at the blessings that have come while I've been on my mission. And I realize those blessing can continue to come after the mission if I continue to share the gospel with those around me. And so can you! Wow, this sounds like a commercial, but seriously! There are so many benefits from sharing the gospel: we get to know more people, we come to know the Savior more, we feel happier, we become more Christlike, we learn more about the gospel. I could go on and on and on with the blessings that come from doing missionary work, so don't have fear, just do it! One of the scriptures I really loved sharing in my talk was the allegory of the olive trees in Jacob 5, where the Lord tells us "Behold, for this last time have we nourished my vineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done according to my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it is good, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard." Of all the blessings that come from sharing the restored gospel, I think among the greatest is the fact that we will have joy with the Lord because we have been working with him.
So yeah! As I said the area's been a little slow, but I think now that my companion and I are both at full capacity to work things will start to pick up! I hope you all are doing well and I challenge you all to try to share the gospel with one person this week. It can be through service, technology, your example, whatever. If you're at loss for ideas go to Elder Oaks talk from the October 2016 general conference and you will find your answer there. Love you all! Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!
Making up for not having pictures last week, I took a bunch this week.
|Me sitting behind the front desk at the visitors center. Title, "A Day|
in the Life of a Visitors Center Sister."
|One of he Young women's birthday and she really likes Japan, so we made her these things. (I did the writing, sister Gonzalez did the drawing)|
|We had a stake relief society activity where all the ward got up to sing a song. This is not our branch but a picture I took of the other English wards. SURPRISE, I played the piano for our branches musical number. Hahaha|
|Trying to be more healthy, so this is my green smoothie.... yes I know I'm a health nut.|
|Really hipster picture. But also really pretty sunset!|
|Already setting up for the Easter pageant!|
|Sol Canyon Zone!|
|Our dinner was at a members birthday party for her four year old daughter and there were like 20 kids on the tramp.|
|Cute drawing sister Gonzalez drew of the Escondido branch missionaries!|