Sunday, December 15, 2013

Letter #57: "Remember, remember..."

This week I was really just reminded of the importance of remembering. I love Helaman chapter 5, which focuses so much on REMEMBERING. We had a couple of great comp studies with our zone leaders as well as with the assistants that helped me to remember some of the principles I have learned over my mission and have applied in the past....but more importantly, they helped me to remember the importance of REMEMBERING. We learn so much on the mission and it is easy to forget about past trainings or to let lessons learned fall by the wayside....but we CAN'T do that! I was also reminded of how important it is to remember past success. It can be easy to get down on ourselves in the moment when things don't seem to be going our way, but that is just a very sneaky tool of the adversary. 

As a result, I have been going back through my old study journals and notes and remembering the things I have learned and applied over the course of my mission. It has been so uplifting and revelatory for me! It is also amazing to be able to see who I have become over the course of my mission.

We also were called a bit to repentance by our zone leaders as they talked with us about the importance of inviting EVERYONE to come unto Christ, not just singling out YSA. Obviously, we are here to look for YSA...but at the same time, we need to be seeking to find anyone who God needs us to. They reminded us of the importance of being selfless in the work and that as we consecrate all, we will be compensated. This really helped us to shift our mindset and as we went out with a greater desire to find EVERYONE, especially for the other missionaries' areas, we began to notice more success in our area as well!

We also started our 40-day "purification" fast with our sisters and it is going amazingly well. They are all seeing so many miracles and we are so excited for them. We truly know that this next month is going to be a month of miracles. We are going to have a white Christmas!

As we are approaching this holiday season, I hope we all will strive to be a little more Christlike. On my mission, I have learned so much about LOVING people. Every person we meet is a son or daughter of God, and our Savior died for each one of them. We may not understand them, but it is still up to us to love them for who they are and see them for who they can become. Yesterday some guy showed up at church...I don't know where he came from, but you could tell he had some kind of disability and maybe was even a little drunk. But he was so sweet and just wanted to help people. He kept talking during gospel principles class and he stood up and talked about how he had walked by a homeless woman on his way here and that he felt so bad because she was someone's daughter. He said how he's planning to be a star and when he gets rich the first thing he's going to do is give her money. And I thought he was awesome and had such a big heart. And sadly, all of the guys sitting by him were just rolling their eyes and shaking their heads and making faces about the whole thing. Frankly, I wanted to walk over there and punch them. And yes, they were RMs. And yes, I would have hoped they had learned something about loving people on their missions. I pray that I never become so caught up in myself that I act like that. I know I definitely have before, but I pray that I will remember the things I have learned and felt out here. As followers of Christ, it is our responsibility to treat everyone like divine son or daughter that they are, no matter how "outside of the mold" they might seem.

That is one thing I am thankful for: the things I have learned out here and the massive changes of heart that I have experienced.

Some other things I am thankful for (in the spirit of Thanksgiving, naturally):
--My incredible companion Sister Clayton. She truly is amazing and I am so grateful for her.
--The awesome branch members that I get to serve around down here. They are so willing to help with missionary work. We had 3 separate members offer to come teaching with us tonight!

--The fact that I was raised in the gospel! The recent converts I get to work with are so amazing, because they are jumping into a completely new culture when they join the church. It is so different from the rest of the world and there is so much for them to learn. It is definitely not an easy thing! I am grateful I have been able to learn these things and internalize them for 23 years!

--My wonderful parents and their example! I am especially grateful to you, Mom, for being willing to seek out the gospel and join the church even though you did it alone. I can't imagine how difficult that would have been...We are teaching an investigator who knows everything about the church is true and that he needs to get baptized but is really being held back by his family and his culture because he worries what will happen if he joins the church (he is from China). I've never really thought about how hard it would be until I started working with him. His concerns are very real. I admire your courage, Mom, and am eternally grateful for your decision!

--All of my amazing friends and family members who are so good at providing support and encouragement to me! I love all of your emails and letters and packages. They always brighten up my week. :)
--This opportunity I have to be a sister training leader and get to serve and learn from all of the other sisters. It is difficult and I can't imagine being more tired than I currently am, but I LOVE it. I love the sisters. They are amazing. I learn so much from them and from this calling!

--This INCREDIBLE mission. I can't imagine a better place to live for 18 months. #FFLM4life 

Love you all! Happy Thanksgiving! This year I get to experience a Latin Thanksgiving....#cantwait :)

Sister Dougal

PS- Speaking of besitos....definitely got one from an old Cuban man this week....yup it happened

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