Monday, September 30, 2013

All to Partake of His Goodness

Hello Family and Friends and Followers!

One of us is regretting her decision to mention how flippin' tired she was in last week's email. I didn't mean to make anyone worry. Missionary work is so exhausting. We are strict to the 10:30 - 6:30 schedule, but I still feel tired every single day. As a missionary you are used to always feeling tired. But the miracle/tender mercy of missionary work is that you always are blessed with the energy you need to get through the day. Every day. Missionaries are good at acting not tired. But I'll spill a little secret: we are really tired. Most of the time. But still happy to be here and anxious to work! And I was only sick for a night. I think it was something I ate.

Plus I failed to mention that one reason I was so tired last week was because while I was on exchanges I had to sleep on the floor. Next time I'm bringing a sleeping bag.

Anyway. This week was also full of ups and downs. It was kind of sad. But some good things happened too. So we'll try to focus on those things. I like good things. "I can do anything good . . yeah.  . yeah. . ."

Monday was P-day! Good news is that I got to spend the whole day on the couch writing letters. Sad news is that the elders went hiking without us. They declared that particular p-day "bro day." I'm finally close enough to the mountains to hike and we're not even invited on the first one! We would have gone ourselves but we had no miles on our car. But it's okay. Elder Woolums says we'll try to go next week. We better! I liked the down time though. It's nice to just sit and do some letter catch-up. Because one of us is a little behind. Sorry for the neglect! I still love all y'all I promise!

Monday night we had a fantastic lesson with Patty. She is soooo close! Her husband is a member and he wants this for her so desperately. He pushes a little hard just because he loves her so much. We went over there with another pair of missionaries and taught Patty about personal revelation. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. This whole time she has been expecting a sign. We told her that her answer would come gradually as she puts her faith in Christ and continues on the path He has set before her. Now that she has a better idea of how her answer will come, she is that much closer to being baptized!! We're meeting with her again tonight. Pray for a miracle! She is so flipping close I can almost taste it!!!

Guess what??? I received news like 5 minutes ago that Jeanette, her daughter, and Mattie were baptized on Saturday! I'm so happy for them!!! Exciting stuff!! Sad that I couldn't be there, but it was such a pleasure teaching all of them! I'm so excited for all of them and so proud of them for taking that step. The Church is true!!

Tuesday we did our exchanges with Bristol. This time I got to stay here in Kingsport with Sister Roundy and Sister De Hoyos. It was fun because Sister De Hoyos was also trained by Sister Stone, so we talked a lot about our experiences with her. Sister De Hoyos is a fire cracker; it was so much fun getting to know her and teach with her. We had a lesson with Mary and she really clicked with Sister De Hoyos. Mary is so close. She believes almost everything we do. She just won't come to church because she's afraid of one of the members, who is not very nice to her. It is so sad to see how a member of the church is our biggest road block to baptizing Mary. We're just praying that her heart will change and they can become friends so the work of salvation will proceed! Another lesson on charity. Just love everyone. It makes the process of salvation much smoother for all. Especially for yourself.

We had a lesson about the Priesthood with Debbie this week. She also got to come out with us this week! She is such a solid member of the Church already. We're still praying for her husband Phil. One day he will accept the Gospel; I know it!

Wednesday was a bit rough. We couldn't meet with over half of our investigators this week because everyone was getting sick, cars were breaking down, work was interfering, and all that jazz. It can get pretty frustrating sometimes. These people are so ready; we just can't help them progress because we can't even meet with them! We're just praying and praying we'll get appointments that hold! Anyway. Wednesday we spent most of the day driving around trying to contact people but no one was home. We did meet two more potential investigators though! Their names are Kevin and Nikki. At first it seemed like they were hardened toward the Gospel, but as we talked to them their hearts softened and they opened up. We offered them 2 copies of the Book of Mormon and invited them to Church. Hopefully we will see them progress!

Thursday was a little rough too. We met with a less-active in the ward who is going through some really hard family problems right now. She broke down right in front of us and said she just didn't know what to do. We tried to console her the best we can and invited her to lean on the Gospel. These experiences are so sad to witness, but they strengthen my testimony all the same. Over and over I have seen grown men and women find hope, healing, and consolation through the words spoken by three 20-year-old girls. It strengthens my testimony that we truly are representatives of Jesus Christ, and we can help anyone come unto Him and partake of His love and goodness. More on that in a second.

Friday we had a fantastic district meeting, followed by an even more fantastic lesson with a new investigator. We found him on Tuesday as we were walking into the Library to volunteer in the archives. He stopped us and asked what our name tags were. We told him we were representatives of Christ and that we teach a special message. He accepted a return visit! We exchanged numbers and he actually called us! For all y'all who haven't served a mission: that never happens. When an investigator calls you, you know you're in business. We taught him with the elders on Friday. He's actually in their area, but it's okay because we're all on the same team trying to baptize the heck out of Kingsport. We taught him the restoration and he soaked it all in! He is so hungry. His name is Jeremy, and he looks like he's probably in his late twenties. He wants to come to church, and he accepted the invitation to be baptized! First lesson! Wooohoo!! Sadly he couldn't make it to church yesterday. Hopefully he'll make it to General Conference this week!

Saturday we went on another exchange with Powell Valley. These sisters are awesome! I got to work with Sister Burr, who is training right now. Turns out she was a Sophomore at Lone Peak while I was a Senior! Small world. We teamed up with Debbie and went to see Loretta, another less-active we're working with. It was interesting to say the least. Sadly we didn't have very many teaching appointments that day, but Sister Burr was a really good sport about it. I was really impressed with her and her love for the work! I just love getting to know these sisters. That's what makes my calling so great.

Saturday night was the Relief Society Broadcast and it was perfectly fantastic. There was a huge emphasis on keeping covenants. President Monson's talk about the power of prayer was also truly inspiring. I love Conference!! It's like Christmas!! I'm so excited!!

Yesterday was so hard. I came home feeling defeated. The ups and downs in missionary work really do resemble a heart monitor. We did find out Ginger and Austin went to church!!! They didn't come to our ward, but they still came!! I was so excited to hear that!! So that was good. The rest of the day wasn't as good. But I learned a lot so I'm gonna talk about it anyway. We teamed up with Sister Lane to go visit Rachel, a less-active YSA. The appointment that followed was one of the most frustrating and sad appointments I have had on my mission thus far. She was very open and honest about her feelings toward the church, and it just made me sad. She was baptized without a testimony, and we're not sure how. She was open about her desire to openly shun religion in her life so she could sow her wild oats and live a "fun and free" lifestyle. Sister Lane bore the most powerful testimony about our Savior's love and the importance of following Him, but it didn't do much good. Some people just aren't ready. Just a couple hours later we met with another less-active who also was very open and honest about what she dislikes about the Church. It's hard to watch people who once made important covenants cling to lies. I felt that no matter what I tried to say, nothing could penetrate their hearts.

Last night I reflected on how easy it is to feel inadequate as a missionary, especially one holding a leadership position. I feel like I have so many people within my realm of influence, including missionaries, yet I can do little to touch them or inspire them to change. Every day I feel like there are so many people to visit and bless and just not enough time to do it all. So many people fall under the radar or refuse to let us help them. It is so hard to love all these people and feel like I can do so little to influence them or change them. But as I was thinking about these things, I received a clear image of Christ feeding the five thousand. There was one among the multitude of five thousand hungry people who had food to offer. His offering was little: five loaves and two fishes. Yet Christ accepted that offering, blessed it, and multiplied it. This parable struck a new chord in me this week. As a Sister Training Leader and a missionary I find myself trying to feed a multitude of five thousand spiritually starving people. My offering is so small. I can offer my talents, my time, and my energy, but that alone is not that much. But as I turn to Christ and offer all that I have to Him, He will take what I have and multiply it. In the words of Alma, "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things . . . " (Alma 26:12).  On our own we can't do much. But through Christ, we can do all things. Through our seemingly meager efforts He can feed a multitude of spiritually starving people. We just have to trust that He can and trust that He will, and do all that He asks us to.

Today I was reading in 2nd Nephi 26. That chapter talks a lot about how Christ wants all to come unto Him and partake of His goodness. He will deny no one. As disciples of Christ, we should keep that in mind as we try to go out and rescue. One thing that stood out in Stake Conference was to never give up on people or think they are too far beyond the reach of the Savior's healing touch. They may not be ready to receive Him now. But we should do all we can to at least invite. Invite all to partake of His goodness. That is what He wants for His children. He wants to feed them all, and He wants to do it through His instruments. Us!

Well friends and family, that is all for now. Thank you so much for your emails, letters, prayers, support, and love. I feel it every single day. It's tiring, it's hard, it's discouraging, and it's the best and most rewarding thing ever being a missionary. I love it every day. Sometimes you feel nothing but thorns but you look back and see nothing but roses. I love being an instrument in the hands of the Lord. There is no greater work than the work of the Lord. I love you all! Until next week!

-Sister Fox

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