My goodness, I can't believe it's December. A year ago, my trainer Sister Spjut was going home and I was about to take over an area for the first time. It's hard to believe that so much time has gone by! So much has happened in this last year, most importantly the changes that have taken place in me.
This week I've been thinking a lot about God's expectations and making sure that His are the expectations that I am trying to live up to, rather than the expectations of man. Obviously, it is good to be accountable to other people; in the mission, I am accountable to LOTS of people! But sometimes we set unrealistic expectations on ourselves and get stressed out as we try to meet them. I wrote a list of some of the expectations I have for myself as well as some of the expectations that come with being a FFLM missionary. And when I looked over my lists, I realized how many unrealistic things I demand of myself! Unfortunately, I don't know if I will ever "be able to remember and apply EVERY training", and becoming a master teacher and developing an unshakable testimony is something that I will continue to do over time. When I wrote a list of God's expectations, it was such a relief to see how much more "do-able" they are. Sure, He still expects a lot of us, but rather than just tell us to "Be THIS!" or "Be THAT!", His expectations are things that we are asked to DO. And in the process of doing, we will eventually BECOME. Some of his expectations for me are to serve him with all my "heart, might, mind, and strength," to seek to do "the will of the Father" rather than my own will, have an "eye single" to the glory of His work, keep His commandments, always be repenting and becoming better, and learn how to completely rely on and trust in Him ("doubt not, fear not."). These are things that I can do!
From now on, I really am trying to focus on His expectations and get caught up in His work rather than getting caught up in all the things that I feel like I can't achieve. After all, He didn't say, "If ye are a perfect teacher with a perfect testimony who will baptize every week, ye are called to the work." No! He said, "If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work." I am really striving to unselfishly forget myself and do things His way. Sometimes things won't go the way we want to. For example, I found out that I am losing a whole week of my mission in March because my last transfer will be 5 weeks in order to accommodate some of the new missionaries coming in. Obviously that is really disappointing for me...because let's face it, I don't even want to go home in March. My true desire would be to stick around for the temple dedication. However, like Alma in Alma 29, "I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me." And it's true, I AM content...in fact I am OVERJOYED with the things He has allotted unto me. I feel so blessed to have come here to Florida and to have had so many incredible experiences and so many more to come. I know He has a reason for sending me home when he is, because there is something else that He needs me to go and do...and it's up to me to gratefully accept His will.
This was definitely a WILD and wonderful week in the heart of Miami. We FINALLY have some solid investigators that we have been teaching .Yes, they're all boys, and yes, for the most part they fall into the "stoner/recovering addict" category, and yes, we love each one of them so much. I wish that everyone could look at them and see what we see. With the Lord on our side we're going to help them all overcome their issues and get baptized. Had my first Latin Thanksgiving....boy, was that wild, and I LOVED it! We ate at our branch president's house. There were tons of people there and lots of loud Spanish, but it was so fun. We had regular delicious Thanksgiving food, but for dessert we had tres leches instead of the regular pies.
Other exciting moments included:
-Acting out the Plan of Salvation for our recent convert
-Eating baleadas and then Cuban ice cream on Calle Ocho
-Wandering the streets of Miami right before curfew last night trying to make our way back to our car and encountering a dead dog and some fireworks that Sister Clayton thought were gunshots
-Meeting our wild (and possible schizophrenic) investigator Remy by contacting him after he crashed his skateboard into a car (Woah.....sisters!! Woahhh!)
-Doing Pilates Tuesday night at the branch activity
-Delicious Peruvian food last night for dinner!
Yup, as you can see, life continues to be grand here in Miami. I can't believe the transfer is coming to an end though....I really am sad about Sister Clayton leaving...I love her so much!