Saturday, August 31, 2013

Letter #43: "Lay hold upon every good gift"

This week was a bit of a struggle for Sister Stegelmeier and I. The main thing is that we have both just been so exhausted, and it was affecting our attitudes and ultimately our missionary work. We both were trying to shoulder everything on our owns and it left us in kind of a rough state by Sunday. Yesterday we asked for blessings from the elders and they were both so beautiful! In Sister Stegelmeier's, it talked about having the burden she was carrying taken off of her and she was able to feel that weight literally taken away. My blessing was really powerful as well, and there was something that really stood out to me. In it, Elder Torres talked about how Heavenly Father has given me spiritual gifts that he wants me to cultivate and use for the benefit of others. After that, he also talked about how there are even more gifts that Heavenly Father wants to give me, and that I need to pray for these gifts and study them. It was a really powerful moment, especially because the things he said were almost word-for-word what it says in my patriarchal blessing about gifts. I have been given an amazing promise from the Lord that there are more gifts coming my way and when I desire to have a gift, I just need to to seek after it, pray for it, and it will be given to me. When I received the blessing yesterday, I could feel a slight chastisement from the Lord that I hadn't been taking this counsel to heart. There are so many gifts that He wants to give me to help His children--the sisters in my stewardship as well as my investigators--and all I have to do is ask.
So that is something I am going to be focusing on. How can I use the strengths He has given me to bless His children? And each week, I want to focus on seeking after & cultivating different gifts. This week, I felt like He wants me to focus on charity. Oh boy....I feel like I am forever trying to perfect my ability to love others....! But honestly, charity is one of the most powerful tools that we have been given. After all, "charity never faileth."

The priesthood is so amazing!! I am so grateful for priesthood authority and especially for worthy priesthood holders who are so in-tune with the Spirit. Sis Stegelemeier and I were just blown away by how strong the Spirit was as we received our blessings yesterday. It is so incredible to see these 20-year-old boys and how incredible they are, especially when compared to other 20-year-old boys in the world! It just blows my mind to see how the priesthood truly changes boys into men. I wish that every person could witness the power and authority that these elders have as they truly take upon them the mantle of their calling. If everyone could see that, no one would be able to deny the truthfulness and reality of this gospel!

I finally understand why sisters only serving 18 month missions instead of 2 years....I literally don't know if our bodies could survive that long! I'm about halfway and I just feel SO tired. My poor little body is worn out :/ It's interesting because I feel like that's actually come up a lot lately. The past couple weeks, a lot of the sisters I've been on exchange with have mentioned how they feel like the mission is aging their bodies and that they feel like old women. No WONDER sisters can now leave at age 19...!! :)

We got a new sisters in this week! She came in mid-transfer. I haven't met her yet, but from everything I hear she is AWESOME. She's from Equatorial Guinea (in the Congo in Africa) and she is the very first missionary ever to serve from her country!! :D How awesome is THAT?! #shewasbornfortheFFLM

Here's a few interesting tidbits for you about me...

a. I am mildly obsessed with David Archuleta. The elders finally surrendered their MoTab David Christmas CD and it was one of the best things that happened to me all week long. I have been listening to it non-stop.
b. I am quite the celebrity here because I'm in that Mormon message. People keep finding out about it...basically the whole mission knows at this point, and not because I went around telling people....! Anyways, it's pretty funny. I'll literally get calls or texts every week or so from other elders in the mission asking me, "Hey, Sister Dougal...ARE YOU IN A MORMON MESSAGE?!?! Because we just watched it and we saw you!!" haha. I also discovered that they actually have a DVD of Mormon messages with mine on it. So you can actually buy me on DVD now! I have to admit I felt pretty cool about that. :)
c. My Spanish continues to improve! It's gotten to the point where someone starts to speak in Spanish and I just understand. It seems super natural and my brain doesn't even do that, "Oh my...they're speaking Spanish, lemme think..." it just understands now! It's like I don't even necessarily notice that they're speaking a different language. It's super awesome. I've actually started thinking about asking God if He would consider sending me to a Spanish area...but at the same time....if that actually happened I would probably freak out :) So maybe I won't do that. We'll see. :)
d. I do NOT know what I am going to do when I have to go back home to a place where there are ONLY WHITE PEOPLE....I honestly don't know if I'll be able to handle it!!

Also, one more cool thing I discovered this week. I was reading Jesus Christ's final commission in Matthew 28 when Jesus commands his disciples to go forth and to teach and baptize all nations. And I realized...hey, that's EXACTLY what we do here in South Florida! I've taught and baptized people from Chuuk (Micronesia), Columbia, Haiti, St. Lucia, Jamaica, etc.! Man, I LOVE SoFlo.

get that FLO! [faith, love, obedience],
sister dougal

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