Well hello there everyone!
First off: I added some people from the Canterbury Ward because you’re awesome. Hopefully you like getting my emails, because you’re on my list now. 😀
Second: I am now in Ellsworth, Maine! It’s up near Bangor (we actually go to the Bangor building sometimes for meetings). We live in Bucksport, right across the river from Fort Knox! I absolutely love the area and so far the ward seems pretty great. It’ll take some getting used to after seven months in Canterbury though. 🙂 My new companion is Sister Bickle, who served in Laconia for a few transfers, meaning we went on exchange a few times! So I already knew her at least a little bit. We get along fabulously and we’re both really excited for this transfer. 🙂
Something else that’s awesome about Maine: They name their streets kind of odd names. Like Flockamoosen Way. Yes. There is a real street named that. Also, Hida Way. Pictures to come.
So, amidst all the transfer excitement, life was crazy this week. Tuesday was spent mostly in the car – it was a five hour drive from Manchester. While that was exciting, especially with all the fog, I’d like to stay up here for a while so I don’t have to make that drive again any time soon. Wednesday, we met with a few people (I’m pretty happy with how many names I’ve remembered) and had some miracles happen. For example: There is one woman in the ward here, who is not so fond of missionary work. Interestingly enough, when we called to see if we could stop by, she said yes and talked with us about a few less-actives she’d like us to visit. Then on Sunday, she came to Gospel Principles with us to help fellowship a recent convert who was baptized last week (they have three recent converts in the ward, which means they were baptized within the last year). Apparently that was huge! So already, we’re seeing miracles in the area! YAY!
I think one thing I’m happy about with my new area, is that I’m comfortable teaching. Since I spent the last seven months in one area and it was my training area, I was a little worried that I’d be quiet and let my new companion do all the teaching since she knows the people. Well, that worry is mostly gone. I can teach pretty well. The hard part is conversing normally with people. I have a hard time thinking of questions to ask when I first meet people until I get to know them. How do you get to know someone without asking questions? No idea… I think that’s what companions are for? 😛 Haha just kidding. I’m going to be such an awkward return missionary. Ah well. Such is life. 🙂
Okay so there are a couple of things I wanted to talk about this week. Sister Bickle was sick all day yesterday, so I got a lot of study time. I studied the talk “Meek and Lowly in Heart” from the Conference Ensign. Whoo buddy! That is a FABULOUS talk! I’ll touch on a couple of points really quick. Also, I’d like for you to look up the scriptures that I reference. Please. 🙂 Meekness is a wonderful Christ-like attribute and something that we all should be striving to become.There are a few steps to becoming meek. First: Improve day by day. While it is a commandment to become perfect (as it says in Matthew 5:48), it’s not something that’s going to happen in this life. It will happen, but it’s going to take a lifetime of work. It is our duty to TRY to perfect in this life and that requires us to do our best to do things better than we did them yesterday. One song I’ve had stuck in my head since studying this talk is “If the Savior Stood Beside Me” by Sally DeFord (look it up on her website, it’s probably there). I absolutely love that song and I’ve made it my theme for this transfer. If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do? Would I say the things I say? As you think of that, remember that, it’s not just when the Savior stands beside us that we should be striving to be like Him. We are to stand as witnesses of Him at all times, in all things, in all places (1 Timothy 4:12).
Step two to becoming meek: Learn how to control your temper. When I first read that, I was like “Umm, okay, that’s interesting.” But as I thought more about it, it made more sense. When we fail to control our temper, we’re giving in to the adversary (3 Nephi 11:29, 2 Timothy 2:23-24). President Henry B. Eyring said “When we with faith control our tempers and subdue our pride, the Holy Ghost gives His approval and sacred promises and covenants become sure.” I love that quote. Think on it for a minute and figure out what that might mean to you. I love it, but I’m still trying to figure it out.
Step three to becoming meek: Become Humble. Only those who are humble are able to acknowledge and understand the Lord’s answers to their prayers. They are teachable, they are meek and they have the ability to influence others to be the same. Christ was the supreme example of meekness. In Luke 23:34, He said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He asked the Father to forgive those who had persecuted Him, tortured Him, and crucified Him. I’d say that is quite the example of meekness. And one we ought to follow. Christ suffered so that we can have the opportunity to change our character. Let’s take that opportunity and make the best of it. Become more like the Savior. This week, as you go about each day, think about if the Savior stood beside you, would you do the things you’re doing or say the things you’re saying? What would you do differently? Take the time, make the effort to change and become better. It’s hard, but it’s completely worth it. And the blessings that come as you strive to become more like the Savior are endless: Happiness and joy, love, the ability to want to serve others, and so much more.
For those of you who study the Book of Mormon (even those who don’t), I studied Alma 36. It’s about repentance and is a very wonderful chapter, which I love so much. Most likely, there aren’t many of you who qualify to be called the vilest of sinners, but I encourage you to, as you study, apply the verses to yourself. How can your understanding of Christ’s Atonement, His love and His life, be applied to you personally? Think of questions to ask yourself like: Have I ever felt like this? How have I experienced a change of heart, even if it’s not quite so dramatic? What would this kind of experience be like, if it happened to me?
I know as you each take the time to study from the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the conference talks, etc, your lives will be blessed – your understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will increase and so will your happiness and your willingness to love and serve the Lord. Life is so much better when you accept His will and just do it! 🙂 I also know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints truly is Christ’s church once again restored upon the earth today. I know that there are a few of you who aren’t so sure about that, whether you’re members or not and that’s okay. Everyone needs to find out the truth for themselves. The way that you can do that is by going straight to the source – asking representatives of the church or even just your friends who are members. If you don’t know anyone, or are afraid to ask, go to mormon.org. You can just read on your own, watch videos or even chat with missionaries! But the number one source is your Father in Heaven. He is waiting for you to ask, waiting for you to open up to Him. So, as James directs in his epistle, James 1:5-6, ask God with faith and because He is your loving Heavenly Father, He will answer you if you’re sincere. I know it, because I’ve done it. And I have felt His love each time I pray with sincerity. It’s an amazing feeling and I hope that each of you, member or not, strong faith or not, takes the time to find the truth, even if you’ve done it before.
Have a fabulous week! Stay close to the Lord. Ask Him questions when you need to know something. 🙂 I love you all!