My dear friends,
How is everything going in your life? How has your week been? I'm sorry I skipped the blog last week - there really is no rest for the wicked and, right now, we're going 100mph every minute of every day!
That being said, I felt prompted to share some specific experiences this week... I'm hoping that you can identify a doctrine or principle that you can apply into your own life and that, as well as feeling a little more updated on my adventures, you'll feel the Holy Ghost testify of the truths I want to express... no pressure huh?!
So, this has been my third week in my new area (Chippenham YSA Ward). Now, I don't know if I shared this before but, for this assignment, me and my two great companions (Elder Dayton and Elder Drew) cover a whole stake with our main purpose on working with people between the ages 18-30! This is DEFINITELY a change from Poquoson, where we worked with families with young kids and covered a mere fraction of this area now! This has meant I've had to do a lot of adapting which, as you all know, takes some stretching... for example, I got fed every day in Poquoson; Chippenham... let's just say I'm using my limited cooking skills a lot more (and that's if we can grab time to make anything more ambitious than cereal). It's also meant that the issues we encounter differ from back in Poquoson - we meet a lot of different people, especially at the VCU campus!
These changes, combined with some 'custom thunderstorms of opposition' (that term was coined by one of my best friends, Elder Burke), have made this week pretty challenging. We were blessed to teach 14 lessons this week (which is miraculous in this area) as well as attending a four hour meeting with President Perry, holding a zone meeting for the 38 missionaries in our stewardship (which included training), uplifting and sustaining some companionships that have been struggling, trying to organize a musical fireside to help promote the church in Richmond, trying to find time to study, helping Jasmine and Jacob prepare for their baptisms, work in unity with the three sister missionaries in our ward, build ward trust... oh, and make sure we're not all dying of exhaustion ha! Elder Drew commented on how we probably work harder and give more of ourselves to this work than most adults to their jobs ha :) So, to say I felt a little stretched would describe this week well...
Now please don't think I'm moaning ha! I love being a missionary and I'm grateful to have been given the responsibilities God had entrusted me with. However, isn't it human tendency to get lost in the day to day details and feel completely and utterly overwhelmed? I felt I needed to express the intensity of our calling in order for gravity of the miracles we've witnessed to be portrayed with justice!
The main miracle is the very thing we commemorated this week... the miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ! It is a beautiful concept that, simply because He loves me, He suffered to cleanse me of my sins and wrongdoings as well as enable me to bear the burdens my mortal sojourn would inevitably bring. I testify that there is power in that message; that the Atonement of Christ is real and is available to all that seek His comfort and understanding.
That Atonement allowed my wonderful companions and I to soften the hearts of a group of recent converts, an investigator and the bishop and his wife last night after we ate an Easter meal together. As we taught the message of the Restoration - that the authority to perform the ordinances, such as baptism, necessary to access the Atonement had been reestablished today - we were able to feel the Holy Ghost testify of the reality of our Saviour! Now, some may say that's our job but, for the first time in a while, I was in the same position as those we taught... I needed to feel the peace I had been promised! That, if I continued in diligence and obedience through a trying week, I would feel the enabling power in my life - my friends, I felt it last night! I know that I can do what the Lord requires of me but only if I am willing to let Him strengthen and steady me! Life IS hard - it was designed to challenge and stretch us in it's very nature - but we can still find peace in the midst of the storm!
I love you all - I pray for you and feel your prayers in my day to day life! Keep working hard... when the time is right, you'll know that you are engaged in the cause of truth!