Monday, July 29, 2013

Pure in Heart

Family and Friends!

Ola! Como vai? This is Sister Fox! Apologizing in advance for the shortness of this letter because I feel somewhat ill. It happens.

This week was pretty hard, but I think part of me is finally getting used to it. Missions are supposed to be hard. So I guess we must be doing something right? Makes sense in my head. Anyway. We saw a lot of good things this week though! A lot of tender mercies amidst the hard times as well. Let's get started, shall we?

Monday was good. We spent the day writing letters so I could finally catch up. Thanks to all who wrote me this week! Your letters were much needed and appreciated. Love you all! I try my best to get back to as many of you as possible, it's just hard to find the time. P-days are short.

Monday night we saw Lucas and dropped what Kelsey (a returned missionary who likes to team up with us a lot) refers to as the "spirit bomb." We went in there, dove into the Book of Mormon, read a lot of our favorite scriptures, and testified of the power and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Lucas soaked it all in like a sponge. He loves it! He started reading right as we left. I love that kid. He's rock solid.  Two days later we took him on a church tour and he walked all the way to the church building!! That shows dedication. After touring the church with him, we ended in the chapel, where I played a rendition of "Come Thou Fount" while everyone else sat and pondered. After that we invited Lucas to be baptized on August 10th and he said yes!! Wooohoo!! Hurrah for Israel!!

The only slightly sad news is that our ward actually has a singles' branch attached to it and the Assistants are in charge. So we're giving Lucas to the Assistants to teach. But the important thing to keep in mind is that he has a testimony and he wants to be baptized. That's all that really matters.

Tuesday we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. Sister Paxton went to work in a new area and we had Sister Preston come and work with us. I love Sister Preston! She was Sister Mortensen's trainer. She is so awesome; I learned a lot from her. It's always fun learning from new missionaries for a day. It was a rough day though; we had every appointment fall through. It happens. I'm glad Sister Preston is a really good sport! She knows how missionary work is.

Wednesday and Thursday every appointment fell through as well. Except Lucas's church tour, which was perfectly awesome. Thursday night we decided to drop in on Haney to see how he was doing. We read the Book of Mormon Introduction with him and committed him to read. He's pretty open! He's just hard to get a hold of because he works a lot. But we committed him to be baptized and he accepted! We don't have a date for him yet. We were hoping to get him with one on Saturday, but the appointment fell through. It happens. Hopefully this week! Fingers crossed!

Friday we spent most of the day helping people move. First we went to help Cheryl and Kyle move. Cheryl really appreciated our service and was a lot more warm and open toward us. The elders said they had a really good conversation with Kyle too. They want us all over for dinner. Hopefully we can open another door with them again and help them progress. We're not ready to give up on them just yet!
After Cheryl we helped another ward member pack up her apartment to move. It was a lot of hard work, but there is a lot of joy that comes with serving others!

Friday night all our appointments fell through. It happens. But we went on another faith walk and we ran into Dustin! We officially concluded that the only way we will ever run into Dustin is on a faith walk. We talked with him and he's still interested in learning more. He finally got a job! Which is good because he needs money. Makes it hard to get a hold of him though. But we're happy for him! After we committed him to keep reading the Book of Mormon and to come to church with us, we began walking away. Then he called after us so we turned around. He then told us that he had been praying for the past several nights thanking God for us. He said his life has been much better since he met us! That made my day. Friday was a not-so-good day, so I was grateful for that tender mercy! It's always a blessing to know that you have been an instrument in the hands of God in blessing the life of another person. That's why we're out here!

Saturday I fell ill. It happens. Woke up with all sorts of funny stomach and flu-like symptoms. The beautiful thing about trios is that when one gets sick, proselyting can still happen. We called a young couple in the ward and asked if I could spend the morning there. They were so nice about it! They let me sleep on their couch and watch the Testaments and stuff. Then Ashley (Chelise's friend from high school) picked me up and let me spend the rest of the day at her place. I'm just grateful for good ward members. They really take care of the missionaries. Ashley let me sleep for three or four hours on her bed, gave me food, and had her husband and another member give me a blessing. What a sweetheart!! Though I hate being sick, Saturday was kind of a tender mercy. My body was so broken down and exhausted from the accumulation of the past 6 months, it was nice to finally take a full day to sleep. I felt much better in the evening, so my wonderful companions took me out proselyting for an hour or so. Turns out they had a really slow day because all our appointments fell through. It happens.

Sunday we *almost* had 2 investigators at church, so that's a start. Lucas got sick and Dustin had to work. It happens. One of these weeks we'll get investigators to come to church! Lucas really wants to come next week, so we're hoping he'll be there! After church we went to drop in on Maryann to see how she was doing. She had a rough week, so we had the Assistants give her a priesthood blessing. It was good to know that we ran into her right at the moment she needed us. That was a tender mercy for everyone! She is so solid. She's coming back strong. I lean on her, Larry, Marlene, Travis, Marty, Shane, and Caitlin a lot during the hard times. I may not be touching many people here, but at least I know that I have touched many others through my efforts. I feel so richly blessed by my merciful Father in Heaven. Whenever things get hard, I find that He always lets me know in some simple way that He is there. Tender mercies everywhere!
Today I still feel a bit under the weather. Good thing it's p-day! I really just wanna go home and sleep. For like, 3 months. But a couple hours will do. There's work to be done.

Thanks to all for all your letters, love, and support! I hope you know that I am still enjoying myself out here, despite the difficulties. There's no greater feeling than knowing that you are doing exactly what God wants. And when it comes down to it, that's all that really matters. I realized that one of the most important tools of missionary work is your source of motivation. I've been studying about what it really means to be "pure in heart." Inspired by a letter that I received from a wise and loving family member, I concluded that being pure in heart means that we sacrifice all those desires that are not in harmony with God's will. It's a huge act of faith. I feel missionaries are most effective when their hearts and motives are pure. I feel like we all come to a point when we have to ask ourselves why we want success. Is it so other people will think we're good missionaries? Is it so our families and friends will be proud of us? Is it to please others? Or to please ourselves? Or do we want to please God? D&C 4 specifically outlines the attributes that qualify missionaries for the work. One attribute is having an "eye single to the glory of God." When your eye is single to the glory of God, you find that you feel satisfied with your best. When you're not trying to please the world or elevate yourself with success, you feel confident. You find that you stop apologizing for low numbers and stop feeding others excuses for your dead area. You rejoice even more in the small footsteps others take toward Christ. When you focus on pleasing your Heavenly Father, as Christ did His entire life and ministry, you increase in confidence, faith, and optimism. James warns that a "double-minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8). In all aspects of life, when our motives are pure, and our mind is centered on bringing glory to God, we find so much more satisfaction, even when things aren't going well. Purifying your heart is easier said than done, but when we make that a personal quest, we will be happier, and I know that to be true.

Thanks again to all of you! I miss you all, love you all, and pray for you all daily. I truly am happy. This is hard, but still good. Yeah, still good. And I feel that I'm on my way to a quick recovery. I truly am in good hands! The best of the best. Until next week!

All my love,

Sister Fox

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