Monday, November 4, 2013

Through Heaven's Eyes

Hello Family and Friends!!

It's P-day again!! Good grief, time goes by so fast. It just kind of refuses to slow down. Even though I ask it to. Silly time. It's not very accommodating, is it?

This week was pretty good! It was and it wasn't. So might as well just call it good. Because, from an eternal perspective, it was good. First we'll start off with funny quotes for the week!

"Baptismal font of awesome!! Look at all those drops of awesome in there!"

"Ammon is a stud. I wonder if he's been sealed to anyone yet?"

*Gasp* "What would Ammon think??"
"I don't like being made fun of for my Book of Mormon character preferences."
"Yes you do."
"You're right it's actually kind of funny."

I don't really know how Ammon became the center of our inside jokes this week. But he is pretty legit so. . . I love my companions. 'Nuff said.

Monday! It was p-day. And I was particularly ill. So I happily embraced my anti-sociality and slept on the couch in the foyer while the other missionaries played sports. Points to Sister Bedke; she came out and checked on me several times and even found me a blanket. My companions take such good care of me!! I had a pretty nasty cold and it lasted through Wednesday. I feel much better now though!!

Wednesday we had an exchange with the Powell Valley sisters. I was kind of sad that I didn't go up to work in Powell Valley because it's a beautiful area with a lot of humble people, but we had to plan it a little differently. I did, however, get to work with Sister Cady again!! She spent the day with me and Sister Roundy in Kingsport. She is so awesome. I learned so much from my exchange with her 6 months ago, and I learned a ton from her during this exchange as well. She is amazing! I love her a lot. I will be including a lot of her thoughts in my spiritual thought at the end of this email.

We had some good lessons Wednesday! We saw Sydney again and she really clicked with Sister Cady. We talked a lot about finding our stories in the Book of Mormon. Each of us has a part of our story in there. I told Sydney an experience I had when I was really struggling and found answers through Book of Mormon stories, and Sister Cady did the same. She is getting really excited to read it! I know that as she does she will gain a much stronger testimony. I'm so glad she's coming back to church!! She came on Sunday!!! Happy day!!!

We also had a quick lesson with Marge. She is really open and friendly! The last time we saw her we just caught her on a bad day and she wasn't in the mood to talk to us. She was happy to see us this time! She invited us right in and we started talking about going to church. She wants to get back into church but she doesn't know which one to join. I love it when people have that problem. We told her about the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our purpose as missionaries to help people come unto Christ, be forgiven of their sins, and qualify for eternal life. She agreed to take the lessons! We'll be seeing her again this week and I'm really excited about it!! WoohoO!!

Thursday was Halloween! And it was basically like any other day. I dressed up as a missionary. I had this knee-length skirt with a matching blouse, worn-out shoes, and a pretty convincing name tag. I also had worn-out scriptures in a bag with tons of holes and pass-along cards in it to accessorize. Super convincing. Didn't get any candy for it though.

We spent Halloween basically visiting all our favorite people. We had a good lesson with Debbie and had a delicious dinner with some members. We spent the evening at the Carter's house reading the scriptures together. It was a pretty good day! It really wasn't all that different, but it was good. And it marked a year since the day I opened my mission call. Does it feel like a year? Nope. I can't believe that was a whole year ago!! That was an exciting time. Now here I am, in Tennessee, preaching the gospel and having a blast!
And Halloween was the day we learned that my sister-in-law is having a girl!! Sorry for freaking out on y'all an hour ago. I've been looking forward to hearing that news all week and it didn't end up in my inbox. But it's okay because I know now!! Thanks for the quick responses!! =D I'm so excited to have a niece!! I had a feeling it would be a girl. It's funny, a lot of people asked me this week what changes I would see once I went home, and I kept telling them that I would go home to a 2 year old nephew and a new niece. Then I caught myself because I didn't actually know it was a girl. But now I do! Validated.

Friday was district meeting! It was a really good one. It started out with a pretty hilarious moment. Sister Roundy was giving a training and she was absolutely terrified. We were giving the elders a ride to the church, and Elder Woolums said, "Oh, by the way, the assistants are coming." He said that just to freak Sister Roundy out, but it was a total joke. So we pull up in the parking lot and who do we see piling out of the van? Elder Mills. One of the assistants. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Sister Roundy didn't think it was funny. She did a fantastic job though! She gave an excellent training on diligence. One thing she said that I loved was that diligence is not just an action, but an attitude. It's one thing to do God's will. It's another thing to do it happily and willingly! Diligence is not just the ability to do what we set out to do, but the ability to do it with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance. Points to Sister Roundy!  That was one of the best district meetings I've been to, actually. The Zone Leaders gave another fantastic training on Elder Corbridge's MIT, then we had a couple role plays so we could practice teaching investigators the importance of keeping commitments in light of the MIT. I love district meetings!

Saturday we had an exchange with Bristol. This time I went up to Bristol to work with Sister Parkinson. Sister Stone went to Bristol right after she was with me in Pleasant Ridge, so it was fun seeing that area. We worked with a couple less actives. I really clicked with them! One of them was named Mitch; he joined the church just a couple years ago. We talked about the importance of attending church in light of the Most Important Thing. It's amazing how people respond when you talk about keeping your priorities in life straight. We had a fantastic lesson about church attendance and he came to church the next day!! For the first time in 2 years!!! Woohoo!!! Victory!! Hurrah for Israel! The Church is true!

Yesterday was also really good! Sadly, we didn't have any investigators at church again. But surprisingly, I felt perfectly happy. The Elders did!! They got a whole family to church!! I was really happy for them. If I can't rejoice in my own success, at least I can rejoice in the success of others! The elders have 5 baptismal dates right now!!  I am seriously so happy for them. We are all on the same team trying to build the kingdom, and it's certainly growing in the Kingsport area! It's fantastic!

These past few weeks certainly have been interesting. They've been the slowest of my mission. This is the longest I've gone without teaching a lesson from PMG chapter 3. I have never gone this long without teaching an investigator. And yet I feel perfectly content. I feel patient. I feel happy. And that is a gift from God, and the result of hundreds of prayers on my behalf, I am certain. I feel like I have grown so much. And I'm at peace knowing I'm trying my hardest. I'm giving this area everything I have. If things don't pick up, I guess it's not God's will. But I will continually find joy in the service of God, because that is where true joy is found. And I am so grateful for this opportunity. Missionary work really is the best. Where else do you learn this much or experience this kind of growth? I can't believe I only have 9 months of it yet. I am so far from being ready to say goodbye to this lifestyle. So better embrace it now! Enjoy it while it lasts, hope for the best, and focus on the Most Important Thing (I added that last part after Elder Corbridge).

The title for the email this week goes beyond the song that has been stuck in my head for the last five days. Sister Cady pointed out a chapter of scripture that has really changed my perspective of personal growth, change, and potential. It's found in Moses chapter 6, specifically verses 34-36. It's the story of Enoch. I love the Lord's response after Enoch doubts his own potential. Christ promises Enoch that He will abide in him, "Therefore walk with me." We are given power as we walk with Christ. Power to reach our own potential. Power to bless those around us. Power beyond our natural capacity as mortals. But how do we know what we are truly capable of? How do we recognize our potential? I love what happens next. In verse 35 Enoch is told to anoint his eyes with clay, then wipe it from his eyes. In 36 he sees that which can only be spiritually discerned. How do we see our potential? We must look at ourselves through heaven's eyes. We look at the person God knows that we can be. And we do that by wiping the world from our eyes. There are too many worldly influences and lies that blind us. But as we walk with Christ and wipe the world away from our eyes, we can see ourselves through heaven's eyes. We can see who we have the potential to become. And then we become that person through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Sister Cady suggested creating a characterization of yourself. Like you are a character in a play. Who are you? What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths? No matter who you are now, or what problems you are struggling with, you can change. You can add any trait to your character. You can become a completely different person. Write out the character you want to be. Then ask for heavenly help. Ask for the ability to see yourself through Heaven's eyes. Let God help you see your potential. Then write it out. Become that person. God will respect who you want to become and will shape your life and bless you with experiences that will help you become that person. Because that's what this life is about! It's about becoming more like God. It's about becoming someone who is comfortable living in His presence again. It's about following the footsteps of Christ and having His image engraven on our countenances. It all starts with desire. Who do you want to be? With God, all things are possible. You can become that person. You can grow, you can change. You are never stagnant. You are either moving forward or moving backward. So choose to move forward. Choose to become the person God knows you can be.

That is all for now! Time is running short. I hope you all know how much I love you! The prayers make a difference every day. I love your letters, your emails, your thoughts, and your support. It keeps me going! I hope that something I say each week will help each one of you in some way. It's the least I can do to repay everything that all y'all have done for me!! I just love you all so much!!!

Until next week, all you fantastic people!

-Sister Fox

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