Monday, November 18, 2013

Trust in the Lord

Hello Family, Friends and other Favorite people of mine!

I can barely remember what happened this week so we'll just see how this email turns out.
I do have a couple quotes though.

(Same 4-year old as last week)

Me: I eat like a rabbit.
4-year-old: What?? You ate a rabbit???
Me: Yes Sweetie I just picked up a live rabbit and swallowed it whole.
*Next day at church*
4-year-old: Hey Sister Fox!!!! Did you eat a bunny with all its fur on it??
Me: No honey I was just kidding.
4-year-old: Oh. Mom!!! Sister Fox didn't eat a bunny!!!!
Mom: Sister Fox didn't eat a bunny . . . ?

I'm going to miss that girl.

This week was transfer calls. I had it all planned out in my head. Perfect plan. I would stay in Kingsport with Sister Bedke for her last transfer in the mission. We finally both know what's going on in the area and we're going to hit it with all we've got for the next six weeks. Then I'll get to stay with all my favorite people during the holidays. Then I'll stay one more transfer to show all the ropes of Kingsport to another STL. Then I'd get transferred. Perfect, right?

Nope.

Saturday I found out both Sister Roundy and I are getting transferred. I may or may not have cried after that phone call. This would be the first time I've cried after transfer calls. I've come to terms with it now, but I was not happy about it initially. I love Kingsport so much. I love my companions. I love my district, I love my district leader, my zone leaders, my ward, my bishop, my investigators, everything. I am going to miss Kingsport so much. But after a lot of pondering and prayer, I've come to feel that my work here really is finished. God needs me elsewhere, and I'm excited to plant myself in a new area. It'll be interesting to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in a semi-foreign place, but I know a lot of fantastic experiences await me there. So, I can finally honestly say I'm looking forward to it!

Oy, this week. Where to start? Ups and downs. I say that every week. That's the mission for ya.Monday was good. We played spud again. And sardines as companionships. Now that was an interesting game. It was fun though! I learned it's really hard to hide three people in a church building.

Monday night we heart-attacked a woman in our ward. She has been going through a really rough time so we thought we would send her some encouraging messages. I haven't seen her since but it felt really good! I hope it made her day. I just love doing things like that!

Tuesday . . . we saw Vivian! And we taught her the Plan of Salvation. It was one of the most incredible Plan of Salvation lessons I've ever taught. We were all so in tune with the Spirit and we all learned so much from that experience. Vivian accepted a baptismal date for December 7th!

Right after Vivian we saw Marge. We didn't have time to teach her a whole lesson but we shared a thought and then set up a return appointment. She is so solid. She said she wanted to come to church Sunday!
Tuesday night we saw Kim. I love Kim. With all my heart and soul. I don't know if I've talked about Kim yet? Quick rundown. Kim and Bobby are married with an adorable 18 month old named Trinity. Bobby was baptized about a year ago, around Halloween. Kim has been meeting with several sets of missionaries ever since, but she's a little more hesitant. Bobby has a lot of health problems, so it has been hard for us to meet with them. We had a fantastic lesson Tuesday night though. We did a little fast with Kim on Tuesday because she's trying to quit drinking sweet tea. She said she had a really rough day but she knows God wants her to learn something from it. She really wants to join the church but something is holding her back. Something more than sweet tea, anyway. She doesn't really know what it is. She's making great progress though! I just love her so much. So so so much. Can't even explain it.

Wednesday we had a fantastic zone conference on chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel, which is all about using time wisely. At first I thought a 6 hour meeting about planning would be fairly dull, but this one was really good! We had some excellent trainings on how to plan and be wise with our time. I learned a ton about goal setting and faithfully owning your goals. After zone conference we went on exchanges with the Greeneville sisters. Greeneville is on fire right now! They're a tiny little branch but they're raking in the baptisms. It was fun to work with Sister Bohanon for the day. They are really hard working and keep pretty busy. I got to meet all sorts of fun people! I love exchanges. They're just the best.

Thursday we received our first piece of bad news for the week. Apparently while I was on exchangesThursday morning, Sister Bedke, Roundy, and Hatch were supposed to be meeting with Vivian. Instead, they found a note she had left outside her door asking us not to see her anymore. She is afraid of betraying the faith she grew up with for so many years and doesn't want to make any changes. I truly feel like she knows it's true, but she's too afraid to act. It was devastating. I love Vivian so much. She is so open, loving, and friendly, and I was so excited when she committed to a date. This was the first lesson of the week about trusting in God. I need to trust that God desires her salvation more than I do, and that He will continue working with her until she finds the truth. I had to let go. Let go and let God.

However, Thursday Sister Bedke, Roundy, and Hatch had an excellent lesson with Marge. They taught her the Plan of Salvation in the chapel after they gave her a church tour. They said it was amazing. Marge had started crying and the spirit was so profound. Before the lesson she was apparently pretty hesitant to get baptized, but after the lesson was over she knew that she wanted it. We were waiting outside the chapel to exchange back and when she saw me she lit up. I love her so much! I could tell she had just had an incredible and enlightening experience. It's these simple joys that make missionary work so worthwhile.
Friday. We saw Debbie again and she is doing well! She painted her house and it looks amazing! She is going to be taking us to transfers. I'm really excited! Saying goodbye to her is not going to be fun, but I'm glad I'll get a whole 2 hour car ride with her Wednesday morning. I just love her to pieces! She keeps making us treats and feeding us dinner and doing all sorts of nice things for us. She really has become a second mother to me out here. Oh heavens I'm going to miss her a ton!

Friday night we had a FANTASTIC lesson with Kim. We gave her D&C 89 as an assignment because we had planned to talk about the Word of Wisdom. Well, when we got there, she told us she thought she was supposed to have read D&C 39. That was inspired by the Spirit. D&C 39 nailed her every concern. She thought we had given it to her on purpose because it related to her so well. She knew God was speaking directly to her. She started asking us about our personal conversion stories and how we came to know it was true. We had a fantastic lesson about how it is okay to question things. But doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. Honestly question, but don't doubt your faith. She is making some great progress. I connected so well with her Friday night. Gosh dang it I'm going to miss her so much!!! Leaving Kingsport is going to be a trial in and of itself!

Saturday was transfer calls. I've already gone over how I feel about it. I was fairly sad all day Saturdaybut I've come to terms with it now. I'm so sad to leave Kingsport but excited for the experiences that lie ahead. Someone needs me out there! Time to go find 'em.

Sunday. Oi. Sunday morning we called Marge at 7:30 to make sure she would be at church. She said she was planning on coming. We were so excited to finally get an investigator at church. 9:00 rolls around and she's not there yet. 9:10 we finally send her a text. Right before the sacrament started she texted us saying that she wasn't coming to church that day. She said she didn't want to jump into something she wasn't ready for yet and just needs some time to figure things out. With that she told us to cancel our return appointment for this Tuesday. My heart fell to the floor. I tried to make things right by texting her back and I asked her if we could stop by Tuesday to say goodbye before Sister Roundy and I left for transfers. She said no. One thing I've learned, no matter how long you've been a missionary, and how many times you've faced rejection, rejection always hurts. Getting that text on top of receiving news about transfers left me feeling broken. I silently and desperately prayed for relief. In answer to my prayer, I heard one of the best sacrament meeting talks about trusting in the Lord in times of trial. He was a high council speaker and he did a fantastic job. One thing he said that really stood out to me, after he talked about the story of Abraham and Isaac, is that "God knows what heart strings to pull that will hurt the most. He will only pull on our heart strings because He wants us to discover who we are and what we're capable of." With that he shared the scripture, "Be not afraid, only believe." I cried through his entire talk. God will let us face times of trial to test us. Not necessarily so that we will prove ourselves to Him, but so we, like Abraham, can discover what we're willing to sacrifice and the things we are capable of. We are more resilient than we think. We are stronger than we think. And as we put our trust in God, we find that with His power we can overcome all things, no matter how difficult.

I heard about what happened in the Philippines this week. This put a lot of things into perspective for me. God will let hard things happen. And we don't really know why. But we need to trust in Him. Trust Him to heal us, trust Him to help us, and trust Him to make our trials into something that will refine us and help us become like Him. Because that is why we're here. The jump between where we are and where we can be cannot be crossed without facing opposition and difficult times. But God will never let the refiner's fire burn too hot. And it will keep burning until we reflect His image in our countenance. Receiving news from the Philippines was terrifying. I have friends who are serving there as missionaries. It is truly a miracle that every one of them survived. My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones due to that terrible tragedy. I know that God will be with them and will send angels to be with them in their time of need. We live in frightening times. It is vitally important to learn to trust in God. Trust that every trial given to us is essential to our salvation. Trust that through the Atonement of Christ everything will turn out right. Be not afraid, only believe.

Family and friends, I love you all so much. I appreciate your letters, love, and support. I hope you all know that I am happy. This week was full of ups and downs, and I faced some disappointing days, but I'm happy. Because you are at your happiest when you are serving the Lord. You are all in my prayers and I wish you all the best! Until next week!

-Sister Fox

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