Monday, January 7, 2013

Letter #16: "You make everything lovely"

Hello all! I heard that Dad thinks I don't write enough in my emails and that I should talk more about the town and the food I eat and things like that. Well...this week I ate at Arby's once. A Latin member fed us dinner one night. Ate some bagels. Ate a Dove chocolate that said "You make everything lovely" and it absolutely made my day. 

Well, there ya go, that's my email for the week...

Haha, just kidding. 

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Matthew and Bex! Last time I checked, I'm pretty sure I was the one who was turning 16. Totally crazy! 14 and 16 are both AWESOME ages, hope you both live it up. And Matthew, if I hear that I have yet ANOTHER brother who refuses to ask girls on dates...Imma be a disappointed big sister.

Anyway, this week was one of the hardest weeks thus far as a missionary. It was just very emotionally challenging...lots of discouraging things happening. And of COURSE all the bummer things that happened this week would totally occur in the same week...isn't that always how it works?! So far on my mission, it's seemed like whenever we have really rough days, we always experience some sort of miracle or tender mercy that makes everything okay. But alas, this week that pattern did not continue. I mean, the week definitely had some good things too, but it was just very hard to keep going because there were moments this week when I was seriously discouraged. I was on the verge of a complete breakdown TWICE this week...and one of them was right before church yesterday after receiving some very disheartening news. So I had to bolster myself up and put on a smile even though I totally just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. 
But I also had a bit of an epiphany this week. I was thinking about all the hard things that happened and about how nothing seemed to be getting better and just wondering, Why haven't we at least had SOME little ray of sunshine in this week? I'm a missionary! I'm doing God's work! Shouldn't we be having some blessings right about now? And I realized a) that was silly, because there were plenty of rays of sunshine, like apple pie ice cream and fluffy puppies, and b) there were many people who went through a LOT tougher trials than me with even less to be happy about. I started thinking about Job, who didn't deserve all the hardships he encountered but who had to endure them for a long time. At least I came into missionary work knowing it would be hard...Job was just going along his merry way when BAM!, his life changed. He went through a lot before finally receiving blessings. I also started thinking about the Savior and remembering a YouTube video we watched in the MTC called "Missionary Work and the Atonement." In the video, some of the apostles talked about how when we endure hardships and trials on our mission in Christ's name, we are able to experience a small part of what he went through when He atoned for all of us. As we endure these challenges, we have the opportunity to stand next to the greatest person who has ever lived. I also realized that his week of hardship could very well be the Lord's way of bringing me closer to Him as I learn to better rely on Him for strength and help. 

Viewing things in that light definitely helps! 

Well, that was my week. This is the last week of the transfer, which ABSOLUTELY blows my mind. This transfer flew by. Elder Bjorling goes home next week...ahhhh crazy! All my friends are dying :( And I very well might not be in Port St. Lucie next week! (Or I might still be in Port St. Lucie but on the other side of the area and within a different ward's boundaries...we're pretty sure they'll be opening up another sister area in Port St. Lucie either this coming transfer or the transfer after). I'm really not sure what will happen with transfers, but I kind of feel like I'll be leaving the area. So I guess we'll see! 

Also, one awesome blessing this week...we saw Brandon on Thursday (he's the 18-yr-old who got baptized on Sunday) and he is like a TOTALLY different person. He cut his hair, he shaved, and there's a lot more life in him. We were able to carry on a conversation with him (kind of a struggle before)! Even one of the other members made a comment to us about how changed Brandon seems to be. It's so cool to see the power of ordinances such as baptism in action. This gospel really does change's a very real and literal power!

Also...Brian, my first baptism on my mission, is getting married on Saturday to a woman in the ward! Yaaay! 

sis dougal

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