Week 2 in Ellsworth!

Hello again!

Man. The weeks surely do fly by when you’re a missionary! The weeks are like days and the days are like weeks. It’s so weird. 

Anyway, this week was interesting! It’s really different from Canterbury where we taught at least two or three lessons a day. Now we might get that many in a week! But it’s been good. We do more service here – we help at a roman catholic church in Bar Harbor on Thursdays for the community meal and sometimes we help out at a clothes closet in Ellsworth on Saturdays. It’s actually tons of fun to do service! I love it! The people at the community meal are super nice, the food is delicious (pot roast, chicken, pork, different soups and desserts) and the work is fun! 

We’re trying to figure out a way to get to more parts of our area because at the moment, we really only work in Ellsworth and Bucksport (where we live). Everything else is SO far away! There are a few islands that you need to take a boat to and when… actually IF we ever go there, we would probably need to get permission to travel, stay overnight at a member’s home and then go to the island the next day. It’s crazy how big our area is! It doesn’t help that the members are so few and far between. There are probably 30-40 people that come each week to church. Huge difference from a ward. BUT! We love it! The branch president is super nice and generous. The leaders are, for the most part, wonderful and even if they seem a little… difficult… at first, they’re pretty awesome once you get to know them a little better.

Besides trying to get around more, we’ve been focused on finding new investigators – we found TWO this week! One is an 8 year old who’s mother hasn’t been to church in years, but both of them want her to be baptized. It’s so fun to go teach Izzy! The other is a woman who used to be a member, but had her name taken off the record, which means she’d need to be baptized again, if she chose to do that. So we’re teaching both of them now and we’re hoping to get another one, maybe two, in the next couple of days. It’s going to be FABULOUS! 🙂 

Sister Bickel was sick again on Friday. Sooo I studied from the Conference Ensign. Man oh man are those articles/talks AMAZING! I got so much out of them. There are highlights and notes all over the place! It’s great. I love studying. 😀 One thing I came across was in the talk by David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, called “The Windows of Heaven”. It’s focused on tithing, but the principles he talks about are really amazing. He talks a lot about significant but subtle blessings that come from paying tithing. One of those blessings is gratitude. When we’re grateful, it’s a lot easier to see the small blessings that sometimes you might not ever realize were there. Sometimes, a blessing that comes is the greater capacity to act and change our own circumstances rather than expecting our circumstances to be changed by someone or something else. We’re not going to learn anything if a solution to our problem was always given to us so we didn’t have to figure it out on our own. And that’s the point of life – to learn and grow and progress. Therefore, the Lord gives us the tools we need to get through rather than giving us the solution right off the bat. Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. In the Book of Mormon, the stripling warriors were in need of help to fight in the war that was going on. Elder Bednar says:
 “They prayed earnestly that God would strengthen and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies. Interestingly, the answers to these prayers did not produce additional weapons or an increased number of troops. Instead, God granted these faithful warriors assurance that He would deliver them, peace to their souls, and great faith and hope for their deliverance in Him (Alma 53; 56-58)… Assurance, peace, faith, and hope initially might not seem like the blessings warriors in battle might want, but they were precisely the blessings these valiant young men needed to press forward and prevail physically and spiritually.”

I could definitely not say it any better. That was a really cool realization and I loved what came next. It’s a scripture in Isaiah 55:8-9 (which brought to mind another scripture, Mosiah 4:9) that says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Sometimes, if we’re praying to Heavenly Father for an answer, we can be pretty narrow-minded in what we want. We can’t counsel the Lord or ask Him for specifics because He knows us WAY better than we know ourselves. So when things don’t go exactly your way, that’s okay. The Lord knows what He’s doing. Trust in Him. 1 Samuel 16:7 is similar, as is Matthew 7 (3 Nephi 14). Those are some of my favorite passages in the Bible to study because they’re what I call some of the “pride-check” scriptures. It makes me think about what I’m doing and saying, what I’m praying for, how I’m treating others, etc. As I said earlier, this life is for us to learn and progress. No one is perfect, and therefore, there is ALWAYS something we can each be working on. As you study and ponder those verses and chapters, think of one way that you can improve on, whether it be automatically judging someone when you first see them because of how they’re dressed, or whether it’s that you second-guess what the Lord is telling you to do, and wonder if that’s really the answer or if it’s just your own thoughts. That’s one thing I’ve been working on – really focusing and listening to what the Spirit is telling me. It’s helped SO much in every aspect of life. It’s helped me be more understanding, more patient, happier and to have more charity towards those around me. I know that as you find something you’d like to work on, your life will be blessed as well, and you WILL be able to see the difference it makes as you strive to be better than you were yesterday.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I hope to hear from at least some of you again soon! 🙂 May the Spirit be with you throughout each day to guide your thoughts and your actions to help you become better and better, and closer and closer to Christ! 🙂
Love,
Sister Mayle
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