TURKEY BOWL ET THANKSGIVING
So, in celebrating thanksgiving this week, the entire zone got together today (In AIX) to play football and soccer and it was super intense but awesome. Being around other missionaries makes you realize how happy you are to be a missionary and have the opportunity to meet so many cool people. I know it is a little late but I just wanted to list all of the things that I am thankful for:
-My Family, who is my biggest support and second biggest motivation to work hard as a missionary (the first is to help other people). I know that I would not be here without their love and encouragement.
-The opportunity to be a missionary
-To have been born in the United States of America. Land of the Free and home of the brave.
-All of my friends, who have been good examples to me.
-My mission president, who is inspired and will always be someone that I remember as someone that influenced me for the better.
-The scriptures and prayer.
-The place where I grew up. Newton County Arkansas will always be where my heart is. The people, the mentality, the nature. All of it. I'm super blessed.
-The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the ability we have to repent and to be made clean before God.
Thanksgiving is always a time that I love, as I am always reminded of how much I actually have. I'm truly blessed.
LE MIRACLE DE LA SEMAINE
So, this week was hard. After your most solid amie gets baptized, you have a huge hole in your week as far as to what to do. All of this time that you spent teaching suddenly disappears into finding, which is probably the hardest and most frustrating part of the entire work.. In addition to this, most of our amis were either too busy to see us or not really willing to make time for us. THEN, on top of that, I was stricken with illness. Haha... I had the worst headache for like three days. I thought my brain was going to explode. But, it passed.
Anyway, Saturday night planning session, I was just sitting on our couch discouraged and exhausted, just looking at another empty day when I thought of a woman that I had contacted on the bus two weeks ago, but for some reason never contacted. I don't know if I just forgot or what, but I didn't think about her until that Saturday evening. I sent her a text saying who I was and inviting her to church, not expecting much. Just after I sent the text, Elder LaPointe asked if I could send a text to the same person to invite them (inspiration) ANYWAY Later that evening she responded and said "Thanks, I'm doing great... maybe see you tomorrow."
At that point, I'm just like.. well, at least she was nice enough to give us some hope but I kind of just blew it off I just kept thinking... "She isn't coming." That next morning, I going out the door, I just thought of how cool it would be if she did come... and I felt bad for my lack of faith, so I said a prayer asking for forgiveness and also so that Heavenly Father could touch her heart and mind and give her the desire to come.
Church starts and she isn't there and I'm just like "Welp, at least I tried." but then as we are coming out of priesthood meeting, I see this woman, and she is talking to the Relief Society president! And I'm suddenly just filled with joy! I say a silent prayer of thanks and then start talking to her. She said that she really enjoyed relief society and that she heard a lot of things that she needed to hear.
So, we go to Gospel Principle class (which is just for amis and the ward missionaries and the full time missionaries) and our Ward mission leader asks the amis if they have any questions about the gospel and Elisa (the woman), raises her hand and asks why there are so many trials in this life. Our Ward mission leader gives a WONDERFUL explanation and then says.. " I don't really know you, but I just feel like you are going through a hard time right now.. lets talk after class." You could tell that she was touched by what he said. The spirit was so strong. In the midst of discussion, Frere Faudin (our ward mission leader) told her that she could get a blessing from the missionaries if she wanted and that it would really help her. During the discussion, a less active that we have been working with raises his hand and asks if he can speak and then turns to Elisa and testifies of the atonement and power of blessings. I was so touched. Just because of how everything worked out.
We have been working with this less active for the entire time that I've been here and just now we are seeing a turn around with him. He has a lot of trials in his life and to see him be able to testify of the atonement touched me. The Lord is the Master planner. This less active had been prepared, through his difficulties and trials so that he could gain a greater knowledge and appreciate for the atonement of Jesus Christ--so that he could not only know more surely for himself, but so that he could testify to this woman that her trials can been lightened.
I am always so astounded at the "web-work" of circumstances and little thing things all lining up at the same time and working out. And every single time, I know that it wasn't facilitated by chance or fate but it was something that was inspired, planned, and executed.
Later that day, I looked up a reference that Frere Faudin gave me to ready about trials and I really liked it.
2 Cor. 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”
The longer I am on my mission, the more I understand why hard things happen, and how blessed we are that Heavenly Father loves us enough to give us trials. Imagine how hard it would be to allow difficult things happen to someone you love, knowing they will come out stronger and smarter and in the long run it would be better for them, but knowing of the difficulties they would face. That's a tough choice, but the final decision is decided by love.
As we endure our "light affliction, which is but for a moment," the end result is greater than anything that we could ever imagine.
Coming back to our amie, Elisa, she told me right before she left, how thankful that she was to have come and how this is the path she wants to take. She also told me "I want to believe, I really do... but it is hard for me. I don't know if I can." She is searching and has been prepared for a long time. I can't wait to teach her again. After such a hard week, a miracle like this was much needed and a huge testimony builder for me of God's love for His children.
The Lord is preparing people right now and it is our job to find them.
I love you all so much. You make me a better person. Trust the Lord and know how much He loves you.
Que nous soyons reconnaissants
Je vous aime!