Monday, April 23, 2012

Sick of Moving

Hear ye, hear ye! I have served in the England London South Mission for exactly ONE YEAR yesterday! Gasp! The week was celebrated without too much missionary work, let's be honest--

Monday: Pday! Sleeping for three hours. Amazing!

Tuesday: Teaching, teaching, went to eat at a member's and felt super sick. Felt like strep, actually. Went home early. Sister Paulsen, who secretly is a shaman in Denmark, made me drink all sorts of things.

Wednesday: Sick--gargling vinegar. Found out we had specialized training on Saturday, which threw our plans to move out the window and moved them to Thursday.

Thursday: Moved flats. Out of Badger Farm and west of Winchester into a little place called Hycliffe. Sister Paulsen is a beast and has the gift of structuring. So as long as I didn't cough on anything and was obedient to my assignments, everything went well. 13 hours of moving and we were both dead. Kudos to the Hamilton’s and the rest of the elders quorum who showed up to move the heavy bits.

Friday: Recovery. Feeling lots better.

Saturday: Specialized training, weekly planning, and the adult session of Stake Conference (we had some returning less-actives attending, so we could totally go!)

Sunday: Conference. Suveer, our investigator from India, totally came! Amazing. We had TWO seventies there, Elders Herbertson and Kerr, both from Scotland. They were brilliant and funny and so in tune--so much energy!

The theme was about how we as members of the church focus on how much we SUCK and how we need to stop guilting ourselves into feeling that way. Elder Herbertson told a story of how, as a bishop, he asked everyone to close their eyes, and then to raise their hands if they thought they were going to heaven and live with God again. He started to cry, so hurt, at how few hands went up--particularly among the women who were closer to the angels than he was. It was powerful. He emphasized to us that if we "keep the commandments and endure to the end, we shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God." It's that simple.

I want you all to know that this plan that Heavenly Father has authored for us is a plan of SUCCESS. There is no need to constantly stab yourselves spiritually: "I didn't give enough to charity this Christmas" "I lost my temper with my children" "My home is a mess, the Spirit can't be here" "I didn't do that well enough" "I forgot so and so's birthday" "I don't pray for four hours at a time, I'm a terrible person" and on and on. It's shocking how well You-Know-Who gets into the hearts of those who desperately want to do good and be good. But we need not listen to him. We have the Father of our spirits on our side, the one who controls all the elements and inspires us to be better out of love and not duty--He wants us to get through this life with flying colors, and with His help, we WILL. I know that the life I'm pursuing right now is not perfect. But that is not what the Lord asked me to be here. He asks me to keep His commandments and endure (or enjoy) to the end. It's so simple because God wrote this plan. Only when we complicate it with our extra commandments and standards and comparisons to others does it become unachievable. So help me, I've been out here long enough and taught the Plan of Salvation enough times to know that I am going to do everything I can to get to heaven and live with God again. I'm doing it right now. He knows it. I feel His Spirit guiding me to do it, and with that influence, I am changing to become more like Him.

For all of you who feel like you can never measure up to Bishop or Sister so and so, stop it. The only person we are asked to be like is the Saviour Jesus Christ. And NONE OF US is going to be exactly like Him in this life. But when I see someone stand up to let an elderly woman take his seat on the bus, or when I see little sisters sharing, or when a mum stays up late to comfort a sick baby, or when I see young men working hard to make their parents proud, I want to tell them that they're doing it! They are making steps to become like Jesus Christ. It does not really matter how many steps we make in this life--just that we are making them, moving forward, and trusting with optimism and confidence that one day we will recognize Jesus because we will be like Him. With the ordinances of the Gospel and with the Spirit's guiding influence, we will make it someday. I promise you that.

I'm so grateful to be out here and to show the people of England that there is an alternative to a life of material wealth and stress and depression. When we live with the knowledge that we can change, that we will see our loved ones again, that there are People who love us more than we can comprehend because we have the potential to be like Them, life is like black-and-white turned 3D Technicolor. Keep pressing on and being better. I will stop beating myself up and speak to the Lord about my weaknesses instead. After all, He gave them to me so that I would come to Him in the first place :)

Love to you all! The field is white, already to harvest.

Sister Willard

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