Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Inactivity, service, staying put

SAN DIEGO — YAAAAAAAAAAAY I am so excited for Dad and Sara to be having their adventure! I love the stories:)

I actually went to school with Aubin Lewis, then she left for a few semesters. I can't remember if it was for a mission or something. Great stories. I'm glad you're having fun. 

The only thing I want you to do for me, Sara, is give Leena a great big hug and tell her how much I love her. She is one of my heroes. Seriously. She has changed my life a lot. Talk with her every chance you get and write it down so you can tell me about it:) I would love to hear her conversion story again. I forgot it! 

Guess what? The former mission president in Finland that just got released came to the Battalion yesterday. It was great to talk with him. He knows Leena of course. It made me miss pulla and piirakka. MMMMMMMMM.

You are not going to believe this, but Sister Kennington and I stayed together, stayed training sisters, and stayed in Black Mountain!!!! I am very humbled, very grateful, and so excited for this chance. I love Sister Kennington so much. She's my best friend! We have gone through more together than I ever thought was possible as a missionary. The amazing thing is we have learned how to love each other, despite all of the weaknesses we have. It is a hard thing to live with someone 24/7. I am grateful that I get to live with a patient, kind, and loving companion. I couldn't go through this refining process without someone like her. My furnace has been HOT, and is only heating up. But I am grateful for the opportunity to be changed.

It was such a sweet experience Sunday, not only because I was still in the area I love with all my heart, but because I walked in and Kyle, the less active we have been working with since November — the one who is stubborn and hard on the outside, but really a softie on the inside — showed up in a white shirt and the tie we bought him. He got up and said the closing prayer as well. No one in this world can tell me that people can't change. That is a total LIE!

I was taught another lesson from Elder Seegmiller about why so many people stay less active. It is because they feel they have to fix their mistakes BEFORE they can go back to church, when it is church that is the place to help them become better. So what if someone has a problem with the Word of Wisdom. So what if a person has a problem with the Law of Chastity or keeping the Sabbath day holy. I hope and pray that you or I would not make any of them feel that they could not enter a place for healing the wounded soul. In fact, it is our duty to find them and to help them understand that they NEED to come back, that they are loved. Keeping the laws is the least of their problems.

It is coming back to change, to align themselves with God, to repent that is what keeps people from returning to God. So please, please, please don't be the cause of one of God's precious children shying away from the only place that will give them peace and hope. Its not just in our actions that keep them away, but in our LACK of action that does it as well.

Last thing I wanted to tell you about was Mormon Helping Hands day. Do you do that in Utah? I forget. Our branch was in charge of painting the community center in Mira Mesa. It was an amazing sight, painting the center. Our branch was on the roof, a bunch of 18-30 year-olds that could have been doing anything else on a Saturday afternoon. I took a moment to look around at them, and to walk to the edge of the roof and look down at the crowds of other members painting beneath me, laughing, painting, serving the community and serving God. People walked past with wonder in their eyes. I am sure thinking to themselves, "who on earth are these people? are they crazy?" Many of them, probably not even realizing that we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints —followers of the Savior of the world.

I guess this scene hit me harder today, as an investigator's father claimed that our Church only thinks  about itself and no one else. If only he could have seen the selfless service of these people on this day. My soul was touched deeply with the pureness, the charity of it all. It was a great experience.

I guess the whole reason for my email today is that there is more happiness to be found than what you have right now.

I know that at times, you may read this and think, "Oh, she's just a missionary. She doesn’t remember what living in the world is like. She's just weird and all she wants to talk about is the Gospel." 

Some of you may even have a hard time remembering that I did live where you live, I am real! I experienced much of what you are experiencing now! Being a full-time missionary and a member of God's church is not as far separated as regular members of the church put us.

I challenge you to find the happiness that God has for you. Many of you may have to change where you are looking for it, but I promise it is there.

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