Hi Fam! And Friends.
We're going to the Temple on Apr. 2nd, and I'd love to do endowments for one of our Russian family members again. I'm so grateful we're going, because I definitely need some answers I'm not gonna get anywhere else. In addition to that, I swear I've been reading my patriarchal blessing several times every day this past week.
... Something that just came to me is that if Braden wants to know more about what the Lord has in store for him, and the things he's been promised in life if he's faithful, he needs to go about preparing to get his. I have never been so grateful for mine than I am now. It gives me the knowledge of God's will in my life and why I need to set my goals to reach the Celestial Kingdom accordingly. It keeps me sane in this raging world of insanity that's both inside and outside my head.
I'm so tired, I feel as if I can't take another step, but I just keep walking. I can do it because I look at my pictures of Christ and remember something Elder Ballard said, "Salvation is not a cheap experience!" We will be expected to walk some sort of path of trial and pain; because Christ did it for everyone and was perfect, so we're definitely not going to have an easy time with it either. I got a temple recommend holder that says "Faith makes things possible... not easy." It's only because I not only have faith that it's true, but I know this is true and that I can do all these hard things because of my Savior. I LOVE THE ATONEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sister Smith taught me that Ether 12:27 is a warning that most people don't recognize. And it isn't a threat, it's a promise! As I've experienced this past week. As you've probably already figured from my language so far, it's been a... hard week, to say the least. Sister Smith and I have been adjusting to being companions and how we work together. It's been going good, and we're on the same page.
However, despite the progression on that front, this last week was challenging and tiring, especially this past Sunday. We spent our time going between wards, running around like chickens with their heads cut off, without the dignity of dying; from 6:15 am to 4:30 pm straight. I'm so glad we're allowed to borrow and share the Misteco Elders' car, cuz the church buildings we go to are on opposite sides of town from each other, and we're walking Sisters. It was church and meetings all day, and I have been struggling with an inability to sleep because my mind can't stop racing at night. Sunday on your mission is not a day of rest, just crazier work. It's hilarious! ...
I have never been so exhausted physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually in my life. But I've never been happier. There's nothing more satisfying than knowing that I am doing the Lord's work, and I know He's proud of me.
The closer we come to our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, the more He shows us our weaknesses so that we become aware of how imperfect we truly are. He humbles us and cuts us down so that what He replaces the pieces cut out with is true to who we truly are. He sticks us in the refiner's fire; and it's so that we're melted into a puddle and separates and purifies us from our impurities. It's like we're in a funnel and the farther down you go and the narrower it becomes the more you are aware of your faults; but the narrower it is the closer you are in coming unto Christ and being Christ-like.
We just had our investigator Sharlene get baptized and confirmed this past weekend. It was awesome! I've been so blessed in being involved! Even if I had ended up going home without having had anyone be baptized, even if it's all the hard and challenging with painful growth for me, it’s all worth it in the end because this was never for myself, it was always for the service for the people whom I’ve been able to learn to love. Everyone can have their mission be successful if they let it, even without baptisms. Besides, the mission might've been just to prepare me for being a better member missionary and for me to learn to trust in God.
I'm so proud of all my little brothers and sister! I'm so grateful for you and the impact you've had on my life:
Hey Alex, you should think about getting your patriarchal blessing soon, you're almost, if not already, old enough too. It changed my life for the better and it's awesome besides just that. Think about questions that you have for Heavenly Father about your life and His will, gifts, and promises for you. If you have a concern, ponder and pray about it. You'll love it!
Leah and Luka, it's never to late to start being spiritual. Joseph Smith was only a year older than you when he was called to prepare to be the Prophet of the Restoration. Start today.
Braden, I love you and think of you tons. I brag about you wanting to be a paramedic firefighter to Elder Smith (his dad's a firefighter), and about how awesome you are.
Thank you for all the letters and emails I know everyone has or will intend to write and send but don't. Life is busy, and so is missionary work. I'm uplifted by the support you give me in your prayers. Keep praying for me! I definitely need them!