I'm a little excited about this.
Guess what? The library was totally open yesterday. Did I know that? Nope. I do now though.
So this week was nuts. Y'all remember that Fire and Ice poem by Robert Frost I rewrote a couple weeks ago? I was reciting it a lot in my head this week. This week the schools declared SIX snow days. In a row! How many days was the snow actually on the ground? Two. Maybe three. But hey, six. Better safe than sorry, I guess? Oh Tennessee. These people are so fun. :)
So . . . this week was all kind of a blur because all sorts of crazy things happened and left my brain kind of spinning in circles. But I'll do my best.
we had our final p-day together as a district. :( It was fun though! We went disc-golfing (I learned that I'm *really* not good at disc golfing) and to Jimmy Johns. It warms my heart that Jimmy Johns is everywhere out here. Then we had dinner with a less-active who is not interested at all in coming back to church but she's very friendly. Then we went to Daniel and Olivia's so Sister Schwab could say goodbye. It was tragic because Olivia had the flu and had to stay with her grandparents for a week. We got to see Daniel, though, which was fun! He reminds me a lot of Nate because he's a ninja too. He has throwing stars, a bow staff, and a sword! He went outside and showed us some of his sword moves. Pretty legit. I love this kid. And now he holds the Priesthood! There is a change of atmosphere in their home already; I love seeing the difference the Gospel has been making in their family. It's the best. :)
. Was. Nuts. So, once upon a time, the weather people are predicting 4-6 inches of snow. Tennessee, as we have established, is not used to that. So President decided to transfer all the leadership who live kind of far from the Mission home a day early. He called us in the morning and told Sister Schwab she needed to pack her things for an emergency transfer. It was so sad! We only got to say goodbye to about half the people she wanted to see, because we had to throw all our things in the car to get to Harrison Bay as soon as we could. After tons of phonecalls and coordinating, we decided that I would spend the night in Harrison Bay with Sister Hatch while Elder Hunt from the mission office would drive Sister Schwab and Sister Hatch's companion up to Knoxville. I spent the evening in Harrison Bay and it was pretty fun, though I was sad that I had been ripped from my other half a day early. We had a couple good teaching appointments, and then we had to drive with the Elders to Brainerd and back to pick up another sister who didn't have a ride to transfers. We were told we would probably be stuck in Harrison Bay until , but night we received a phone call that we would still be going to transfers.
So. morning it was totally snowing and we went to the transfer meeting in Farragut anyway. Then I saw Sister Schwab. So Sister Schwab and I ended up at transfers, in Farragut, despite all the arrangements to transfer the leadership early. So y'all may ask, what was the purpose of all the craziness ? Still don't know. But! It was an adventure! Just sad I couldn't spend one more day with Sister Schwab like we had planned.
It was really *really* hard to lose Sister Schwab. God is so merciful. I told myself before transfers that the only way I could handle losing Sister Schwab was if I was put with a companion that I was already fairly good friends with. When I found out it was Sister Day I almost passed out with relief and excitement!! Turns out that Sister Day also just came from a really solid companion, and they were really good friends too. She told herself the same thing; the only way she could handle losing her companion was if she was put with a companion she was already fairly good friends with. Quoting myself from about 6 months ago: Coincidence? I think not. :)I remember going to the temple with Sister Day about a week before we left for the MTC and she mentioned that it would be awesome if we were companions near the end of our missions at a time when both of us knew what we were doing. Who would've thought it would actually happen? This ROCKS! I still miss Sister Schwab, but I am so psyched to be with Sister Day. These next couple transfers are going to be good! :)
So after transfers we were told we weren't allowed to drive because of snow and such. So we spent the rest of the day in the apartment planning. Then the next day it totally looked like Narnia outside, and it was awesome and I took pictures. We finally got the clear to drive afternoon, so we spent the day introducing Sister Day to my favorite people. The rest of the day is kind of a blur.
we met with Barbara again and taught her the first half of the Plan of Salvation. She has been so prepared. She already pretty much believes the same things that we do. We had a good discussion on the importance of opposition in our lives to make us stronger, and she really connected with that. I found myself bearing testimony that if we were to ask anyone about a time in their life when they felt the most growth, they would probably talk about a trial they had experienced. It gave me something to think about afterward. You know you're teaching with the Spirit if you're learning from things you're saying. But it's true; if we trust in God to strengthen us and make us whole during the times in our lives when we feel broken, we become so much stronger, and our weaknesses turn into strengths.I love Ether . That's a popular one. Satan as a tendency to do two things with our weaknesses. He will either blow them out of proportion and make us feel like terrible human beings for having them, or he will tell us our weaknesses are no big deal and will lull us away into carnal security. I love that in Ether Christ tells us plainly and simply that He will show us our weaknesses the way they are. And then He will help us overcome them and turn them into strengths through the power of His Atonement, as long as we take the steps to access those powers through living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are no weaknesses we cannot overcome through Christ's Atonement, and as a missionary, my testimony of that principle has increased tenfold.
all our plans fell through again. It was another one of those "going after the Lost Sheep" days. We found the Lost Sheep. He is a less-active who we've been trying to get to church for three months. They're a small little family, just a father and son. We've put a lot of effort in trying to get them to church; we've role played for them, studied for them, and prayed for them, and it finally paid off! We took a Laurel in the ward over there and had one of the best lessons about church attendance that I have ever experienced on my mission. The answer we were looking for this whole time was the Atonement. Plain and simple. The doctrine of the Atonement touches hearts. It changes lives. It inspires people to change their desires and behavior. We talked about the powers of the Atonement and the blessings that flow into our lives when we take the necessary steps to access it, like taking the Sacrament. The Spirit was so strong. At the end of the lesson, he said a beautiful prayer thanking God for the peace that the Gospel brings into his life, and I almost broke down on the spot. He has never opened up like that before. He came to church the next day!! I almost cried when I saw both him and his dad walk through the door. I. Love. Working. With. Less. Actives. There are no wounds that are too deep for the Atonement to heal, and no one is too far off the beaten path to use the powers of the Atonement to come back and have a change of heart. That's what the Gospel is all about; it's about change. We are here to change into beings who are more like God. We should never feel like we are "stuck" a certain way. "I'm just this way" is never an excuse. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can change and overcome any fears or weaknesses that we've had our entire lives. I've experienced it on my mission, and because of it, I can bear more solid testimony of it. God lives, He loves us, and He is willing to make us into masterpieces if we let Him.
We shared a very similar lesson with Daniel and Olivia this week. We talked a lot about the Atonement and how it can help us overcome those obnoxious weaknesses that keep us from our potential. That seems to be the theme of this week. The Atonement gives us a clean slate. Every day is a new day. We should never let the fear of failure hold us back from trying to change and become the people God wants us to become. Change is possible. I know it because I've experienced it and seen it.
I really connected with a scripture in Alma this week. Alma 29: 9-10. Seeing this change is the joy that comes from missionary work. Alma says, "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me."
It really is the best feeling in the world. For those who are preparing to serve missions, don't be afraid. It may be hard, but every day is worth it. I have never had such profound love for a calling in my entire life, nor have I felt so fulfilled and so full of joy. Every day is a joyful walk, even when it's hard, because we are out doing the Lord's work, and miracles follow us wherever we turn. Nothing is better. I'm so sad I only have 4 transfers left, but I'm so determined to give the Lord my all every day. I never could have anticipated the love I would feel for my mission. I was so terrified to go. Now my heart goes out in gratitude to God every single day for having a mission be a part of His plan for me. I can't say it enough, nor can I find the right words to describe it. It really is the best thing ever.
Well friends and family, that is all for this week. Thank you so much for the Valentine's package and the tasty treats! Daniel and Olivia liked the Skittles. ;) Don't worry; I inhaled the rest. I have a thing for chocolate in the wintertime. And cliff bars. I will always inhale cliff bars. :) Oh, and I keep forgetting to mail the Insanity DVD; I will be going to the Post-Office next p-day.
I love you all! Your letters are so inspiring and always give me the encouragement that I need every week! Thank you all for your prayers on my behalf and on behalf of the people I work with every day and love dearly! I can't thank you enough!!
Oh and we found Sherman! He called us. He's been up working in Dayton but wants to come back soon once he finds a place to live. Yay!
Much love! Have a great week!