I'm so happy today. It's definitely March. It was 56 degrees on Saturday and basically heaven. We are putting away our big coats and soon, so so soon we won't be wearing tights! I'm just so happy for the sunshine everyday. It was a really good week for us. We had Zone Conference on Friday and it was so great. I needed the boost, I needed the encouragement and support to know that God does know me. He is aware of who I am as a daughter of God and as His servant. Sister Mullen shared something that really was profound for me.
We love God.
It is inherent in all of us, as children of God, that we feel love for Him. What we always teach and share with others is that God loves us (which is very, very true!) but sometimes we forget that we, in turn, love our Heavenly Father. We yearn to be near Him and follow Him. That is our sincere desire. We recognize when we sin and distance ourselves from Him and we desire to progress towards Him. We want change. We want to repent. She told us that we love God and I knew and felt it. I love my Father in Heaven. That's why I'm a missionary. I love Him and want to serve Him. I want to return to live with Him. As I've shared that with my investigators, (that they love God) they have felt that truth too. We are children of a loving Father and we love Him.
Anyway, she also had us close our eyes and meditate on our blessings. We have bodies, we can feel, we have families and we have learned in our homes, we have the gospel and our Savior, Jesus Christ. She went on for maybe ten minutes listing blessings. I felt so peaceful and calm. I've been trying to meditate every morning since because it helps me stay grounded and focused. I need to recognize the joy it is to serve each and every day. Today I woke up and just felt so grateful that I am a missionary. I love it so, so much.
Yesterday we had our Branch activity. Oh what miracles. We had been planning this activity for a month but yesterday I just woke up feeling like, "oh gosh, what have we done?? are we ready????" We really wanted the activity to go well and we wanted to leave the Spirit with our members so that they were inspired to do their own missionary work. Church starts at 1 pm and since many members travel pretty far for the meetings, we knew that Sunday was the only day we could really draw a crowd. But that meant after church at 4 pm. On Fast Sunday! Like 5 hours at church! Yikes! So we planned dinner and then prayed that people would be willing to stay after that for three 15 minute segment training sessions. I was stressed all day that it might be a disaster. That perhaps we didn't really know what we were doing. But it was a great success. We planned a taco bar for the dinner. Which you might be thinking something like ground beef with taco seasoning and maybe some taco shells?? No way, mis queridos amigos! This is a SPANISH branch. These tacos were so legitimate. Sister Lopez, our mission leader's wife, is a saint. She made all the meat and beans and rice and then we asked the members to bring the toppings. Pico, guacamole, cebolla, limones. It was definitely the best break-the-fast meal I've ever had. But it didn't start that way. We got to church and there was a package of tortillas and some cilantro sitting on the kitchen counter. I said a prayer in my heart that somehow this meal would be like the 5 loaves of bread and fish story and miraculously the meal would feed everyone sufficiently. And then suddenly, all the food showed up. The Lord inspired Sister Lopez. It was incredible. And what more was miraculous was that all the branch members came and stayed! And they loved it. We had three break-out sessions and taught simply and powerfully the importance of member missionary work. I really felt the Spirit testify to me that this is the Lord's work. Members were really touched and I think it really inspired them to act and think. Our Branch President loved it. I think he was worried too that it would be a flop activity. But we showed him that we are diligent missionaries and that we plan well. It helped to earn his trust. I'm still really grateful that somehow the Lord allowed the activity to work out and be really successful.
Also, Aridai is the best, best, best! I just love her with my whole heart. We were having a hard time catching her this week and I thought for sure that she was losing interest but we stopped by on Saturday night and we sat down and had a real heart to heart with her. In Zone Conference we talked about asking soulful questions. And to ask with the love of the Savior and so we did. We talked to her about why she needs to read the Book of Mormon and come to church to feel God's love and she just agreed. She wants change so bad. She wants to leave everything behind in her life. We were planning her lesson today and I got so excited thinking about sharing scriptures with her. We will read Isaiah 1:18 and Alma 36:17-20. Sweet, sweet is the joy that comes from the powerful joy of change and repentance. I can't wait to share that with her.
I really love everything about being a missionary. I have never felt so close to my Father in Heaven. I have been praying this week to be more converted to the Lord and to the work. I want to lose myself in the work. I want to be an Elder Holland and give every fiber that I have to this gospel. And I've felt His help this week. It's hit me hard this week how every moment that we live is short. We've got to live! My one regret on my mission is that I only have 13 months left. I want to savor every sweet bit of being a missionary because this is incredible work. We are the Lord's hands. And more than any sacrifice it takes to be a missionary, the Lord blesses us triple, quadruple. I'm a better person. I was reading in my journal from my first weeks to now and I've changed. My heart has changed. I still have a long way to go but the Lord is helping me to change.
I'm forever grateful that the Lord trusted me to send me here, to marvelous Spokane, Washington, to bring His precious souls back to Him.
I love you!
Love, Hermana Judd