Hello hello hello friends and family and other folks!
Guess what?? This week was *almost* spiritual overload. Except you can never have too much of a Spiritual high. Therefore, this week was like getting blasted with a spiritual fire hose. Very refreshing, especially because it's like, 80 degrees still. In the middle of October. It happens. Anyway. What I'm trying to say is that this week rocked because I can't recall a time, except for in the MTC, when I have received so much spiritual instruction and edification. It was awesome!! "Let's rewind to my favorite part, shall we?" (10 points to the person who names that movie. And maybe a brownie.)
was a blast! Not of the fire hose variety. Our district got together and played more volleyball, and I'm starting to get better at my overhand serve! I probably make it over 1 in 10. So . . . could use some improvement. But it's coming! Then we played Tomahawk! That game is so fun!! I want to publicly express my gratitude toward my dad for teaching me how to throw and catch a football. Tomahawk is so much fun! And I'm actually somewhat good at it! It's like ultimate frisbee with a football. The hard part is getting the football to go in the basketball hoop. I made a couple shots though! Points. Except missionaries aren't allowed to keep score.
I am really. REALLY. Hyper.
After P-Day ended we had dinner with the Nesbits again, and we had another great lesson about the importance of the Book of Mormon in the conversion process. Patty is soooo close. I can't actually tell what's holding her back at this point. It's probably just not time yet. Another lesson in patience! A mission will teach you that. It kind of force-feeds you patience. But I guess that's good for people like me who need to learn it. Bother.
Tuesday was MLC! MLC = 6 hours of training + 4 hours of driving. We drove with the Zone Leaders down to Knoxville and then counselled together as leadership in the mission about what we can do to help the missionaries. We learned a ton about having a vision, setting goals, and making plans to own your goals. What's so neat about the things we learn as missionaries is that these principles apply to life outside of missionary work. I am already making tons of goals and plans about the kind of person I want to be in the future when I get home. Until then, I will learn all I can!
Wednesday was Zone Meeting! Zone Meeting = 3 hours of training + 15 minutes of driving. I'm glad we don't have to go as far. Zone Meeting was amazing. This month as a mission we're focusing on developing Christlike attributes. We're each picking an attribute we would like to develop. A few months ago I started a BOM study on the topic of charity, so I decided to take it a step further and do all I can to develop it. It's amazing what I've learned about charity thus far. As the BOM is the keystone of our religion, so is charity the keystone of all Christlike attributes. When our thoughts and actions are motivated by pure, Christlike love, His character slowly becomes engraved in our own countenances. As we read about Charity in Moroni 7 and in other places in the Book of Mormon, we find that all the Christlike attributes fall into place as we develop the pure, selfless love of Jesus Christ.
After Zone Meeting we played more volleyball and then we did exchanges with Rogersville. That was one of my favorites! I went up to Rogersville to serve with Sister Brown. She's a firecracker, that one. She will be done with her training by the end of this transfer. Which is in . . . 2 days. I would have never guessed that she was still in training though. She's an amazing missionary. We had tons of fun! I got to meet a couple of her investigators and less-actives, and I learned a lot from her. I even got to see somebody from the West Hills Ward! That was cool. And we did Insanity in the morning. I didn't realize how much I missed those workout videos. Um . . . Christmas? =D
Thursday we had an amazing lesson with our recent convert Debbie. Debbie is so sweet! We brought a ward member with us and they instantly clicked. It was the best moment ever. It's hard as a missionary to see so many converts fall through the cracks into inactivity. Every time I've baptized someone I've worried about them receiving the fellowship they need. But now Debbie has a friend in the church and I can breathe easily. So, be friends with everyone! It just makes the work of salvation that much easier and takes a huge load off the shoulders of the missionaries.
Thursday night we had a lesson with Sky, a young woman in the ward. She is so cute. We talked a lot about individual worth and read her the poem "The Touch of the Master's Hand." I absolutely adore that poem! It came from a really good article in this month's ensign. If y'all haven't read it yet, read it! It's amazing. It just made my heart happy. Like the rest of this week.
Saturday and , of course, was General Conference!! I. Love. General Conference. So so much. It can never come soon enough. Weren't these sessions amazing? I clapped after Elder Oaks's talk. That one was my favorite. It made me feel even more awesome that I got to shake hands with him about 7 months ago. I just. Love him. So much. I also loved President Monson's, Elder Hollands, Elder Ballard's, Sister Nelson's, Elder Anderson's, Sister Oscarson's . . I just loved them all, really. morning was my favorite session. There were so many themes in this Conference that it's hard to pick one out. We heard a lot about developing Christlike attributes, loving our neighbors, honoring our roles as men and women in the church, member missionary work, obedience to God's unchanging commandments, and centering our lives on Jesus Christ. I think if I could pull out any overarching theme of this conference it's this: we need to turn our lives upward and outward. Where is our focus? Are we focusing on becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ by refining our character through His atonement? Are we humble, teachable, and allowing our Savior to shape us into profitable servants? Are we centering our lives on Him and His divine work to gather His children? Are we focusing on the blessings He has given us and thanking Him by turning outward and loving our neighbors? As we shift our focus upward and outward, His work will progress faster. His work must be our main focus. We need to work out our own salvation and turn outward to help others with theirs. That is mostly what I pulled out of Conference.
I just love missionary work. I love this Gospel. This world is kind of nuts. As a missionary it's weird, because you hear little tidbits of news here and there. Lots of strange news flying around about the status of the government, wars in foreign countries, and the condition of the economy. Things like that used to always bother and scare me. It's such a blessing to be a missionary at this time. We focus on giving others hope. And by doing so, we are instill in ourselves feelings of confidence and hope. We teach others that hope comes through Jesus Christ, and no matter how difficult or frightening things get, everything will work out in the end for those who love and follow the Savior. So although the world is getting to be a very frightening place, we do not have to be afraid, because the Savior is watching. All will turn out right, for "the standard of truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing" (Joseph Smith, Jr.) So hold to the faith you have. Know that Jesus Christ is always with you. "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans ).
The Church is true! Can't say it enough. I'm so blessed with the opportunity to tell people that here for 18 months! I'm almost halfway. It's amazing how time flies. Better step up my game!
Love y'all so much! Seriously. I appreciate so much your thoughts and prayers. Until next week!