Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 96: The future is as bright as your faith!

Family and friends,
Happy 2013!
Our p-day got moved to today since yesterday was New Year's eve and more people were home during the day for us to talk to. This week has been a whirlwind. I can't believe that it's been a week since Christmas. It feels like a month, or more. So much happens just in one day in a mission that a week feels like forever. We got a call on Saturday night that we were moving on Sunday at 5 pm so that's it! I'm not living with the Andersons anymore :( It was all pretty sudden and strange. I still feel weird about living somewhere different. I guess it's prepping me for some more changes coming soon. We get our transfer calls this Sunday evening and I have one of those feelings that I'm leaving. I can't decide if I'm leaving because I want to stay so badly or if I really am leaving. This transfer has been magic. I've loved working with Sister Tippetts and seeing all sorts of miracles. It's been weird too with all the holidays because we've been having a lot of fun, and sometimes I feel like we are having too much fun. I mean we still work all the time and somehow, even with Christmas, we managed to have 30 lessons last week, but I just am anxious to get back into the swing of mission life again. Holidays are so fun, and working during Christmas has been the best ever. But all the excitement takes away from the missionary feeling.
Last night, we were allowed to watch a movie for New Year's eve and so we went to the Davis' house. They are the cutest family ever. Sister Davis is the primary president in 6th ward and she's a bundle of energy. They were all so cute and making the biggest deal because this was the one day for the entire year that we could watch a movie. Granted, it was from approved list and we ended up watching "The Best Two Years" but still, it was a lot of fun.
I can't believe it's a new year. On January 1, 2012, I wrote in my church journal, "This year I want the Book of Mormon to change my life." At the time, I didn't know I would be leaving to serve a mission, I just knew I needed to improve my scripture study habits and I really wanted to gain a better understanding and love for the Book of Mormon. I couldn't believe it last night, thinking about how much the Book of Mormon really has changed my life. Yesterday, during personal study I didn't want to put the Book of Mormon down. It was so good. It's so fascinating. I started it over at the start of this transfer and I just started Alma yesterday. Every bit of it is true and good and from God. I've been marking with four different colors: Yellow for whenever it mentions Christ, Orange for Christlike attributes, Green for the doctrine of the gospel it teaches, and Pink for words that the Lord is speaking. I feel like this is the first time I've ever truly read the Book of Mormon and applied it to myself, but all of it applies. Everyday I gain new insight and become more enthralled in the story. It's my favorite book I've ever read. It's evidence to me that the Lord loves us. He loves us so much. The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ and teaches us how to follow him. Have faith, have hope, exercise charity, and trust in God. Always trust in God. He will lead us where we need to be, and where we will find the most happiness.
My heart is brimming with joy from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel so overwhelmingly blessed by this knowledge and testimony I have. Come what may, what storms may rage, my life has been sweetened by the gospel. Every family we teach has faced so many hardships and they just don't know where to turn for peace. That's what we offer to people: hope and trust in our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Yesterday, we had a church tour with Christi Brittain and her daughter Kelsey. It was a miracle we found them. Christi is a less active who lives a in a trailer park way outside of town. We never go over to that area because the owner has kicked us out a few times. But we went to go find a referral and we ended up knocking on her door. I guess her records weren't in the ward because she hasn't been in years and no one knew she moved to a trailer park. But we found her because she was searching for truth. She came on the tour and right at the beginning she said she felt like crying because it just felt so peaceful in the church. All she wants is peace and happiness and she knows she isn't finding it right now. It was a really great tour and at the end we asked her daughter to give the prayer. She said she couldn't remember how praying even went so we helped her out with the start and then she said the most sincer and heartfelt prayer I've heard on my mission. She asked for guidance and direction and help to come back to church. I just felt the spirit confirm to me that Kelsey is a daughter of God. Maybe she's made a few wrong choices and gone down the wrong path, but she was back in the church, in the House of the Lord and that's where He wanted her because he loves her. After her prayer she said she felt butterflies, she just felt so good. It was a really sweet experience. She's going to start going to the YSA ward and I kept thinking about Alma the Younger. Of course, that's where I'm reading in the Book of Mormon, but his story always comes to my mind as I think about the changes some of the people we teach have to make. For some, it means changing every aspect of their live. It's hard. Change is hard. But then I remember how sweet the joy was for Alma the Younger as he left his life of sin behind and repented and healed his heart. I know it's the same for anyone else. The Atonement can change anyone's life. The Savior always has His arms out open. Over and over I think to myself, "Off to the rescue I'll hasten, bringing them back to His fold."
I really wish I could stay in Moses Lake to see Lorena and Daniel get baptized. Lorena is a lady we tracted into a few days before Christmas. We asked to share the Luke 2 story of Christ's birth and then we led into the Restoration. She soaked it all up and we've been back nearly everday to teach her. She is so excited to be baptized on February 2nd and she has been reading and loving the Book of Mormon. I've never taught anyone like her. She is so prepared, so ready for the gospel in her life. I know I will just rejoice to even hear about her baptism but I wish I could be here to see it. We kept going back and back to the trailer park she lived in and tracting on different trailers. I knew there must be a reason we kept going back there. There was someone we were supposed to find and we hadn't found them yet. When we knocked on her door I knew. She was who we were looking for.
Sister Tippetts says that the entire year you are on your mission is called a "black year". Yesterday was the end of hers and today is the start of mine. It's true. I won't know any other life than missionary life for the whole year of 2013. We talk about changes all the time. For me, I don't see a lot of the changes I'm making everyday, but then looking back over time, I see how much I've grown, how much I've learned and know. I love serving a mission so much. We've been taking out a lot of the laurels and YSA girls preparing to serve missions and so many moms and leaders have come up to us to say how wonderful that experience was for their duaghters. It always makes me laugh because for us, it's just another day in the mission. More than likely, appointments fall through and we're just flying by the seat of our pants during the day. But these sweet girls feel the spirit, they expereience the magic of sharing the gospel with people who truly need it and they taste the joy of a mission. We feel the spirit so abundantly in our mission lives that sometimes I can't quite tell the difference from the everyday to something special. It's a feeling that I can't quite explain but I don't want to ever go home to have it leave. Being one of the Lord's servants, on His side of the work is remarkable.
I know this gospel is true and I love laboring beside my Savior in His vineyards everyday.
Love you all so much! But really.
Hermanita Em

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