Monday, August 13, 2012

Consider how great things the Lord has done for you

This past week put a few things in perspective. My trainer, Sister Bullough, went home. With her went Sister Thrall, my MTC companion, and Sister Pollishuk, a native sister that was in the MTC with me. It was weird to think that most of the people I have been serving with are going home. In two weeks I have my last visa trip and I will be the only sister traveling with 15 elders. Perhaps the mission office already contacted you but President Sorenson called this week to tell me that Church HQ approved my flight home on November 16. It also motivated me to set more concrete goals and not let anything get in the way.

This week was a better week. Although last week was hard and perhaps Sister Hawkins and I felt a little tense because of it we kept going. The nice thing about when everything starts to go downhill is that you have a lot of time to reflect and come up with new plans. Rather than bemoan it is better to think of it as a new start. We have made a lot of progress in our goals. I have now almost called all of the former investigators in our area book. Most of our investigators have disappeared on us or do progress but have a track record of figs. So we are trying our best to use all of our time wisely and find new investigators. We looked in the area book for investigators with addresses and then set off yesterday to try to track them down. Along the way we contacted. Yesterday was pretty successful! Although the only contact we received was for English club we talked to more people and we counted that at least 5 people were nice to us and didn't immediately turn us away. We also had more chances to testify as we contacted as well. Although we were a little awkward we did our best to approach every family we saw. We want to find a family and families are the hardest to contact because they are very protective and extra suspicious. But we did our best and we learned.

Wednesday night was a great night, thanks to Sasha. A bibliophile in Ryazan recently passed away and Sasha, our wonderful English clubber, had a connection with his sister. His sister didn't want to deal with the books and asked if he knew anyone that would be interested in books. Sasha took us over to this man's house and we had the opportunity to take whatever we would like. There were lots of fun children's book from the CCCP (USSR) and even a magazine from 1952. Apparently when Sasha went over with the elders first Sasha had a moment of realization. This man's life work was collecting books and while the elders and Sasha looked at the books Sasha said, "This man dedicated his life to collecting books. Now he is dead and his books are here." 

The only investigator we got a hold of to meet this week was Oksana. I met her on the street doing Book of Mormon contacting. She surprised me by saying that she already had a Book of Mormon and had read it. She agreed to meet and we had an interesting first lesson. We gave her some commitments and agreed to meet but then every time we tried to set up a meeting she would not show up. Well, we finally met again this week and she read from the Book of Mormon and prayed! We were so happy and she agreed to reading the Book of Mormon again and praying before she read. She said that she really liked the way that we prayed and liked using her own words. She a lot of interesting ideas but she is willing to learn. we just need to help her remember and show up to our meetings but at least we know she is reading and wants to learn.

Of course this week definitely had some funny moments. Most of them I don't think I can describe what made the moment so funny. For example there is a member of our church that loves to give us nicknames. It was funny yesterday when this member compared me and Sister Hawkins. He said that I looked holy, "like the Virgin Mary" while Sister Hawkins looks like "a Hollywood star". Or when the lesson in Relief Society turned into trying to get one of the single men in our branch married. Or my companion being afraid of cats and nearly dying when, as I was saying a prayer, a cat jumped on my lap. She was glad it happened to me because she said that she might have died of fright.

Spiritual thought: Right now I am in 1 Samuel and reading about the downfall of Saul. What struck me as being so sad what that Saul had so much potential. Although Saul had such great potential his downfall came in not being fully obedient or seeking the Lord. The longer he was king the more he let his bad traits overcome his good traits. He began to think more about himself and forgot who gave him his kingship. I found a lot of application this week when there arose temptations perhaps not to be exactly obedient and think I would make up for it by working extra hard. But I remembered 1 Samuel 15:22 "And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of the rams." I know that although it can be hard at times to be obedient  to the commandments or it is easy to justify our disobedience we can remember that we show our love through obedience. As we are obedient, even during the hard times, even during the times we may question God because of times that are happening in our lives, God will bless us and help us reach our potential. While Saul lets the strain of his duties enhance his negative callings we can take comfort from the example of Samuel who "is a signal example of faith, patience, integrity, and self-sacrifice through a long and trying career (Bible Dictionary)". 

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