Monday, July 2, 2012

Independence Day

Remember that film? My favorite part is when what's-her-face and the small boy are shouting for their dog--"Boomer!" and this golden retriever leaps (in slow motion) into camera view, with New York all exploding behind him, to be saved at the last second.

Anyways, on our to-be zone pday, our leaders (who are really bad at planning, bless their cotton socks) determined that since it's raining all over the zone, we'll put it off til next week. Highlights from this week are:

-I got sick on Friday and slept most of Saturday. Bummer. Sister Barker is going to make me drink more water.

-We got to go on a walk with Ben, all of us fasting for his wife. I feel a lot of peace with what will happen, although I don't have any ideas yet.

-This week is going to be a breakup week. We're dropping most of our investigators (Jeffrey, John, Jonathan, Mark, etc.) but hopefully that will give us more time to see Shalen. Pray that his wife won't get in the way of his baptism.

-Me and Sister Barker keep running into neighbors--one of them was American and was super excited to see us. Hopefully if we focus on finding more this week, we’ll turn our investigator pool into an ocean.

-One less-active lady came to church and bore her testimony and is determined to carry on doing this, despite horrible family opposition. Kudos to her. It makes me wonder what I would do in that situation. We had one sister in the mission whose family is all less-active, and she constantly was like, "I hope I don't go less-active!" For me and Sister Barker, we have such strong support and we assume it's a no-brainer for everyone else, but I guess not. We are so proud of this member ;)

The week has been a really good one, not normal. President Shamo is back in the states and we cannot communicate with him while still in the mission field. I wonder when we'll meet President Millar--he's probably suffering in a state of shock somewhere out in Essex, so we are trying not to disturb him. :) Based on his resume, I'm assuming his mode of leadership is going to be very different from President Shamo's, considering the military and surgical background. Call it a stereotype, but those two things call for order and exactness and no-nonsense. President Shamo stuck a few last rules on us, not the least of which was discarding all board games from the flat. It's a bummer. We never even play them. I think we'll donate ours to the church.

It's interesting to hear the testimonies of those who are less-active. It's hard to maintain real conviction of all the elements of the gospel without living the important ones of come to church and keep the commandments. I compare them to those who carry on coming even though they don't know it's true.

Hence, I present to you the parable of the father with two sons:

Dad: "Sons, I want you to go clean the garage."
Son 1: "I don't WANNA go clean the garage!" (Stomps away.)
Son 2: "Of course, my father. I am so grateful for all you do for me and I LOVE cleaning and so I will clean the garage to the best of my ability because...(excessive praise)."


Dad: "Son! I thought you said you didn't want to clean the garage!"
Son 1: "I know. I'm sorry. It's not my favorite thing in the world, but I don't think you would ask me to do this if it wasn't necessary. I didn't realize how satisfying it was."
Dad: "Where's your brother?"
Son 1: "Asleep, I guess."

I like this story. I've been able to work with a lot of "Son 1"s on my mission, and I've determined who I'm more like. It gives me hope for being a better person. This is the difference between the truly converted, and those who "draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." I like the term "heart" in this context: heart denotes center, core; it illustrates real feeling or enthusiasm, inspiration (his heart wasn't in it) and can make all the difference between good work and mediocre work. It also makes me think of truth, deep thoughts, and character. Something that cannot be faked. We are all trying to sort our hearts out to be more like the Savior, who was honest and true and never deviated from that which He knew to be right. That's the only real difference between Him and us (besides Him being the Son of God and stuff) is that we all know what's right and wrong--He just did the right thing and never drifted. I hope I can be like that someday.

Anyways, thank you so much for all you've done to support me. I know the Church, espoused by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is His divine institution. It is meant for our happiness and betterment, and I know that through first-hand experience, not abstract concepts. I'm so grateful to be part of a church that little children can understand. I hope your week is successful, and I hope all is well at home!

Love from,
Sister Willard

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