Monday, February 10, 2014

Doing the things that matter most (January 20)

Dear family,

Wow what a roller coaster of a week this has been! Trials up the wazoo. Sometimes your burdens just feel so heavy that you feel like you might break under the weight of the load- this is when I am grateful more than ever for my Savior Jesus Christ. 

My heart was absolutely broken this week when Tanya failed her baptism interview. She came out and told us that she smoked a few days ago and so we need to reschedule the date. I was shocked because everything had been going so great this whole week! She never even told us and when we followed up with her she had said everything was good. I cried. We went by the next morning after the interview and we could tell that Tanya was not doing well. I saw a pack of cigarettes out on table and she was very stressed. She was so overcome with the anxiety of her situation that she did not even want to come up with a new plan. Because of this switch in priorities her mind is completely consumed with the bad things now that are going on in her life- and ya there are a lot of hard things she has to go through now being a recent single mother and trying to figure out how to provide for her family, but I just wanted her to recognize that putting God first is what will make everything else be ok. I just can't express to you how bad it hurts when you love somebody so much and all you want is their happiness. I mean you try to do everything you can for these people- you feel their pains and you know what they need to be happy, but they have to choose it. Mommy and Papa I am so sorry for any grief that I ever caused you all as my parents. I can only imagine the pain parents experience from the choices of their children- but on the flip side I feel like I can get a little glimpse of the joy and fulfillment that comes from seeing your children progress and live happy righteous lives. 

Yesterday at church we had ward conference in both wards. Many members had reached out to Tanya to try to get her to church on Sunday, but to everyone's disappointment she did not come. Bishop sent us a text during sacrament meeting for us to try to get her there so we left. We showed up at her house and it was dead quiet- very unusual for someone with 2 little boys and a dog. We rang the door bell and no answer. I had to do something so I wrote her a note and I was pretty bold in it. I told her we all love her and that we want to help her, but she needs to make these changes not out of any obligation to us or to anyone for that matter- other than the Lord. We all need to commit ourselves to doing the things that matter most not because it is a requirement or it's just something to do- we must do it out of our sincere love for the Lord. 

Whenever I start to feel nervous or insecure- this happens more regularly in the call center than anything else. I look over at this picture of Christ that we have by each computer. I think about all of the things that He did for me and how He was probably nervous too, but we know form the scriptures that "He suffereth it..." In relief society yesterday we talked about about the tabernacle in Provo. Many people were devastated when it was burned down- but God had a plan. He knew that tabernacle had greater potential- greater than any of us could have imagined and now it is in the process of becoming a temple :) "God know the ultimate result. He doesn't leave us in the ashes. He builds our lives into magnificent temples". I love that! Another note I took was that Heavenly Father will not take away the struggle- He didn't take it away from our Savior and He won't take it away from us because it helps us to grow. My trials are making me stronger. It is up to me to make the choice of how I will respond whatever situation I find myself in- there is only so much I can do on my part and the rest is out of my control. Hard times come- I can promise you that. But knowing that hard times makes us greatly appreciate the good times. I love this scripture in 1 Nephi 11:16-17 where an angel is speaking to Nephi, "And he said unto me knowest thou the condescension of God? And I said unto Him that I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things". 

I don't know why some things happen in life, but the thing that gives me the most comfort and reassurance in this crazy world is knowing that there is somebody who is watching out for me, who has my best interest at heart, and who really truly loves me. This is true for all of us. If you feel overwhelmed just remember that even though you have no control, your Heavenly Father does. Wow now looking back on what has happened this week I really learned a lot about the atonement. I am so grateful that my Savior Jesus Christ suffered for me- my pains, heartaches, etc. He felt all of it. None of you can really know what I went through, but He knows and that gives me comfort and strength.

With the Beckstrands, my mission Parents.

I was super sad when the Beckstrands left. I think it hit me harder than I had anticipated. I have been with them every single day for nearly my entire mission. They were my mission parents and they did so much for me and all the other sisters here at the VC. It hurt when they left, but I am grateful for the new directors- the Camerons and I love them already. 
Ok onto a miracle to lighten the mood! I had an amazing miracle this week at the visitors center. A couple that serves down at the Prison in Phoenix met this young man at church services that they provide for those who want to attend. This young man is not a member of our church, but he was very interested in learning more. They gave him a Book of Mormon and taught him the little bits that they could. He was so touched by what he was learning that he told this missionary couple to contact his parents sot that they could learn as well. So the couple got their info and invited them to come to the Visitors Center for a tour. This is where Sister T and I come into play. We met them up at the front greet and I just loved them instantly. They were so cute and sweet and their names were Billy (the wife) and Joel- Billy Joel, I mean come on with a name like that who couldn't love them?? haha! So we started out tour at the Christis and talked about the Savior Jesus Christ. We testified of our message which is that Christ's church has been restored on the earth today. Wow the spirit was so strong- and we were only beginning! Then we took them into the Savior of the world room (room with the Jerusalem model and pictures of Christ's life). We taught them about Christ's life and His role as our Savior. We taught them about the church that He set up while He was on the earth. We showed them the time line on the Jerusalem model and pointed out a name that probably wasn't too familiar to them. Lehi. We then taught them about the background of the Book of Mormon and asked if they would each like a copy. They agreed and the husband told us that he has never been much of a reader but that he really wants to read this book. The mom was excited as well because this was the book her son had been telling her about and she has seen how it has changed him. To finish up the tour we took them to one of our theaters to watch the Joseph Smith movie. We testified of how Heavenly Father loves us so much that He has called a Prophet in our day to restore the gospel. We invited them to pray as they watched the movie and to ask if it was true. When we came back at the end everyone had tears in their eyes. The spirit was so thick you could have cut it with a knife! We simply testified that the message was true- the spirit was doing enough teaching there really wasn't more to do other than invite them to meet with the missionaries. They agreed! What a blessing it is to be able to share the gospel. I can't even count the number of ways that  the gospel has blessed me in my life and that is what drives me to share it. I remember really feeling that strongly when I received my own confirmation from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. I have never looked back since that day. It truly has changed me forever :) 

This week had a lot of ups and downs, but I know that the Lord is teaching me life lessons so I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Miracles have not ceased and I know we will continue to see more every day!

Love you all!

Sister Hamstead