Monday, July 22, 2013

Two Becomes Three

Family!
Friends!
Others!

Why, hello, there! This week was pretty good! We had all sorts of adventures. I have another companion! So, I have two boff of em companions. Training two at once is harder than I thought, but it's also really fun, and really rewarding. They're both practically pre-trained anyway, and they're the sweetest, cutest companions I could ever ask for. So we really like our trio! We teach pretty well too. This transfer is gonna be fun!

So I'm actually pretty excited to tell y'all about my week this week! But first, I have to tell y'all about this week's greatest adventure. I call it: The Climbing Fairy Takes on a Table.

So I've mentioned in past emails how Elder Sprague taught us about tabling. Well, last p-day, Elder Lynn and I decided we would try the table challenge. We went to the church, set up a large, rectangular table, and had our companions hold the ends while one of us attempted to "table." Yes, this is how missionaries entertain themselves on p-days. If any of you were wondering. The trick is to start on top of the table, travel underneath the table, and climb back on top of the table without touching the ground. Pretty easy, right? Wrong. Elder Lynn kept falling in his attempt to even get underneath the table without touching the ground. I tackled that part. You just swing your body underneath the table and hold on to both sides. Getting back on top of the table from underneath the table is the tricky part. It's kind of the same rock climbing technique as climbing a ceiling. It's harder though, because your only handhold is the other side of the table. So you have to swing your whole leg around, swing your hands to one side, and reach up to grab the other side. I got to that part. Sadly, my arms aren't long enough to grab the other side of the table. After I taught Elder Lynn the art of getting underneath the table, he actually mastered the second half. It's because he's taller.
In the words of Howl: "That can't be good for the table."

And sadly, the Climbing Fairy had to admit defeat to a table. Temporarily, anyway. I will get all the way around it. Right now I have to nurse a couple bruises. And by a couple I mean several. That travel all the way down both arms. It was worth it.

Quote of the week comes from Sister Paxton: "So there's spirit . . . in paper?"
Took me a long time to recover from that one. If you want the backstory just send me an email.
Also, Sister Paxton is trying to give up sweets. I'm so proud! I told her about Chelise's diet and how when I followed those guidelines I felt better than ever before. Sister Paxton wants to try the same thing. She's having cookie withdrawals though. We decided we would hold a funeral service for her sweets. I was assigned to write the eulogy. I'm entitling it: "Life of Pie: A Tribute to Sweets." I'll let y'all know how it goes.
Speaking of which, Chelise, Sister Paxton would like to know the science behind diet soda and why it's so bad for you. I told her Aspartame is bad for you but I don't know why. Could ya send me an email or something later this week? Please and thank you!

Wednesday was a pretty awesome day! In the morning, Sylvia needed help getting her things to the dump. We couldn't be there because we had to go to transfer meeting, so we called around asking members if anyone could take a truck up there and help her. Well, turns out, there was only one member with a truck, and he was out of town. But when we called him, he said he had the feeling that he needed to leave his keys in the truck, and he said we could use it! So we called a couple members to take his truck up to Sylvia to help her out, and it all worked out great! Tender mercies. I love them. :)

The transfer meeting went really well. I got to see Sister Stone and Sister Mortensen again, which totally made my day. It was so fun seeing them again! We got to reminisce about old times serving together in Clinton. Good times. Clinton will always hold a special place in my heart. And, as I said before, I got another companion! Her name is Sister Walker, and she's perfectly adorable. She is actually waiting on a visa to go to Brazil, so we don't know how long she'll be with us. It's so cool; she is learning Portuguese, so she's teaching us a few words. She also prays in Portuguese all the time. It's legit.

After transfers we finally met with Alice, an investigator we tracted into a couple weeks back. I was a little hesitant at first because her husband, James, was a retired minister, but he loved everything we taught! He kept saying, "What you're saying is good . . . keep talkin'!!" Her 11 year old grandson, Julian, was there too. He got really excited about the Book of Mormon when we told him about it. When we challenged them to take on Moroni's promise his hand shot up in the air and he said, "I'll do it!!" Kids. I just love them!
After that we met with Chris, our Catholic investigator. He is opening up more and more! We taught him about the first half of the Plan of Salvation, and he's pretty open to it. He's been reading a little bit out of the Book of Mormon, and he's willing to learn more. He wants to come to church too! He couldn't make it yesterday because he's out of town, but hopefully we can get him there next week!

Thursday we met with Suellen again. She's doing really well! We taught her the second half of the Plan of Salvation, and she seemed a little hesitant. It's all so new to her. She wants to experiment, though, and she's willing to read and pray about it. We brought a member, Leilani, who invited her to church. Sadly she didn't make it because something came up (that happens a lot) but again, hopefully we can get her there next week!
We met with Maryann twice again this week. She is progressing really well! She has already had another interview with the bishop, and she wants her patriarchal blessing. I'm so proud of her and how much she has progressed since we first met with her! She's fantastic.

Saturday we met with Lucas again. We tracted into him several weeks ago but never could make a solid return appointment. We went over there to teach him the Restoration, and he was really open. He got excited when we taught him about the Book of Mormon! It was awesome. He really wants to come to church but he ran into family trouble yesterday and couldn't make it. Hopefully next week (I say that a lot. 0 out of 3 investigators for whom we secured rides didn't come to church yesterday. Agency. It happens.)!
So, yesterday none of our investigators came to church. BUT! Maria's whole family came to church yesterday!!! Oh Frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! I chortled in my joy! (Sorry. Literature withdrawals.) Maria has been coming every week, but her mom and her sisters stay at home. We finally convinced her mom to come! So she came with all three daughters. Maria's dad didn't come though; he's not into our religion very much. Hopefully we can start teaching him soon! Maryann came as well and sat with us in the front row. She loved every minute of it. We also had the opportunity to teach the Laurel class! Both of them. There's two active laurels in the ward, it's kind of different from Utah. We taught them about missionary work and we role played the Restoration with them. They did a fantastic job! They'll be great missionaries!

Well, the clock is ticking, and I best be wrapping up. This week was better. Some weeks are good, others are not, but you're always learning and growing. I've learned so much about the principle of faith this week. I've been intrigued by it, trying to learning everything that I can about it. I've been studying Joseph Smith's "Lectures on Faith" recently, and I absolutely love them. Lecture 6 in particular. He talks about how in order to exercise faith unto salvation, we need three things: An idea that God exists, a correct perception of His character, and the assurance/knowledge that our lives are in harmony with His will. Everyone in the South has the first one down. The second one is where the problem arises. Too many people down here have the "sinners in the hands of an angry God" perspective. They think He is too quick to condemn them to Hell. How sad is it that people do not understand how just and merciful our Heavenly Father is? One of my favorite principles to teach is the first one outlined in Preach My Gospel: God is our loving Heavenly Father.
Sometimes the problem swings to the other side of the spectrum. They think God is too permissive and they can sin and do whatever they want, as long as they accept Christ as their Savior. But what does that mean? That brings us to the third pillar of faith: a knowledge that our lives are in harmony with His will. The biggest question I've been asking myself lately is, what is faith? What is the measure of faith? Where does faith stem from? What is the difference between someone who has strong faith versus someone who has weak faith? In Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith says, "A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life.” For me, I believe that the foundation and measure of faith is sacrifice. How do we know that our lives are in harmony with God's will? By what we are willing to sacrifice to draw closer to Him. I have found this to be true in my own life. I knew God was pleased with my decision to serve because of the things I sacrificed to come out here and build His kingdom. When we sacrifice our lives and wills to God, we feel more and more accepted by Him. We know our lives are in harmony with His will. This knowledge feeds our faith. That's why it is so hard for people out here to accept our message. This Gospel demands sacrifice. But without sacrifice, we cannot have the faith necessary to lay hold upon eternal life. I've been studying in the Pearl of Great Price too. One of the primary differences portrayed between Cain and Abel was that Cain was not willing to sacrifice, whereas Abel was. Cain refused to exercise the faith necessary to lay hold upon eternal life, and he lost it. From the beginning, God has asked us to make sacrifices in order to strengthen our faith in him. No wonder then, that faith is the first principle of the gospel.

Joseph Smith explains it so much better than I can. When y'all have time, look up Joseph Smith's seven lectures on faith. They are so good. I found them on the Joseph Smith Papers website.

Thank you all for being awesome! I just love you all so much. Thank you for the letters, the prayers, and the encouragement! It feeds my enthusiasm and energy every single day. Until next week!

-Sister Fox

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