October 27, 2014
My week has been pretty great, so I hope everyone else’s has, too! 🙂
First off, before I forget. I have one request from everyone, that I hope you choose not to ignore. I didn’t get a lot of testimonies for my birthday (basically only 1 or 2 out of 53 email recipients…) but that’s okay! However, this time, I think it’s more important. Which means, I don’t care if it’s mail or email, but my request for the next six weeks, is for at least a few of you on a weekly basis to share one or more of these things with me:
2: What you’ve been studying
3: Missionary experiences
4: Your favorite scripture and why
Because I want at least a few every week, this doesn’t mean you have to write every week. It just means I want a couple of you (out of 54) to write at least once within the next six weeks (starting next week, November 3).
Now, why am I doing this? For a purely selfish reason: I go home in 7 weeks, and I would like some boosters every time I read my emails or look in the mailbox to keep me going strong until I finish. Like in a race, everyone stands at the end and cheers the runner on the last little while. Same thing. But I have a restriction: Don’t tell me how excited you are for me to come home or anything like that. Just talk about the Gospel, Christ, missionary work, etc. I have to stay focused for this short amount of time I have left and I need your help to do it! You’re all great and I hope you choose to help me out here. 🙂
Hahaha! Also, I’ve tainted Sister Crook. She’s becoming like me – the more she does things that I do, the more she freaks out and says something like “Oh my goodness Sister Mayle! Look what you’ve done to me!” It just makes me laugh and encourage the behavior. 😀
Alright. On to sharing about me week. YAY! First of all: I love rain. But when you have a week straight of it and having to walk around all day in it, it’s a little discouraging. I had a few days where I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave the apartment because it was so wet outside. Thankfully, I still did go out and because I chose to be obedient (not that I was thinking to be disobedient), we found…. FIVE NEW INVESTIGATORS! YIPPEE!!!!!! WEEKS of walking, tracting, and talking to so many people finally paid off. We were getting disappointed on a daily basis with nobody being interested, numbers being zeroes constantly, and doing nothing but trying to find people to teach. But now, we’ve got investigators that will keep us busy enough that we don’t have to knock on doors or walk around the streets all day. We’ll only have to do it for half the week now! 😉 Haha I do love meeting new people, but I love teaching and sharing my testimony and watching the change in people as the come to know truth and come to know who God is. The happiness that overcomes them as they learn more and more is wonderful and I love it so much that I’d much rather teach all day than talk to random strangers who aren’t interested all day.
One example of that beautiful change is Sister Lyon. She’s a less-active woman who is so wonderful and sweet. I didn’t know what to think of her when I first met her because she was quiet and didn’t seem to want us to come and visit her. A few weeks ago, we asked Sister Arnold if she would invite her over one day for dinner while we were there so we could share a message with her. She happily agreed. Since then, we’ve met with her there three or four times. And she has changed quite a bit. It may not seem like a huge change, but wow. I can see it. And I have no doubt that it’s because I’ve come to be able to see her the way Heavenly Father sees her. She is beautiful, and quiet, but she is happier, she is closer to the Lord and she has come to see so many blessings from involving Him a lot more in her life. Her son, who is not a member and hasn’t quite made the best choices in his life, came to church with her yesterday after much prayer on her part. Bishop Jones pulled us out of third hour with him standing there and introduced us, saying that he wanted to learn about the Gospel and find a way to apply the Atonement in his life. Again, I have no doubt that it’s because of the way our Heavenly Father loves His children and listens to our prayers. Sister Lyon has to be even more happy to hear the choice her son has made! I know I’M happy about it because it means that one more soul is searching for a way to happiness, a way back into the fold of God! 🙂
At church yesterday, I had the opportunity to play a piano solo, arrangement of “Master, the Tempest is Raging.” It’s a beautiful arrangement that I’ve played plenty of times before. I always get nervous before a performance no matter where it’s at because I worry about what other people will think and if they’ll notice any mistakes I might make. As always, I said a quick prayer before starting because that shouldn’t be my focus – I have to quit worrying and think only about the gift Heavenly Father has given me to share my testimony and bring the Spirit to those listening. I stopped shaking when I first started playing, but as I got further into the piece, I started worrying again about what people were thinking, especially since there are a lot of musical people in this ward who know a lot more about music than the average person. That fact just made me more nervous and the more I worried, the less satisfied I was with how I was playing the music. I finished the piece and sat down again, thinking how many mistakes I made and that I could have done much better, almost wishing I could go back in time and try again. But the more I thought on it, the more I realized something: I didn’t trust enough in the Lord. Everything He has given me, especially my talents, aren’t mine at all. They’re His. So when I’m thinking so much about how people will think of me based on my talent, I’m not recognizing that it isn’t actually my talent. I’m not being humble, nor am I putting faith in God that He will give me strength to accomplish His purposes. As I said a few weeks ago, I feel that the music I play is the best way that I can share my testimony. But just as it is with speaking, I can’t bear my testimony completely and fully with the Spirit if I’m not relying on Heavenly Father to give me what I need to do His work. The more I thought about THAT, the more I was reminded of Elder Lynn G. Robbins’ talk from Conference a few weeks ago: “Which Way Do You Face?” with the central message being: “Are you more worried about what the Lord thinks, or are you too focused on what the world thinks?” All too often, I find myself worrying too much about the world and how people see me and what they think of me. I’m afraid to do or say things because I’m not sure what people’s reactions will be and I don’t want anyone to hate me. But what I really need to do, is not care what anyone’s opinion of me is. As long as I do the Lord’s work and try my best to accomplish His will, His approval is all I need to keep going. And that will be my lifelong struggle. But the more I learn of the Gospel, the Atonement, my Heavenly Father, myself and my potential, the more I change and become better than I was before. It’s an ongoing, painstakingly tedious process, but as I always say: “The things in life that are worth it are always the hardest.”
Sometimes it may not seem like we’re making any process. It may even seem like we’re going backwards! Sometimes, it feels like we’re disappointing God and everyone else with the way we do things, even if it’s not bad. For me, if I’m not being exactly obedient, I know it, and it makes me feel like a horrible person. But I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not perfect, God doesn’t expect me to be perfect right now. He knows I’m learning. He knows it’s a process and not an overnight change. He knows that it takes time, energy, patience and love. And He does all of that perfectly. We just need to learn to do it His way, to learn to forgive ourselves, to be patient and continue pushing forward no matter what comes our way.
I love that. I love that He gives us so many chances to learn. He loves us perfectly and because of that, He will never leave our sides. He will always be right there, encouraging us and leading us and helping us to keep going. I love my Heavenly Father. I know that He is there for each of us on this wonderful journey called life! And I love everything about my life – even the hard times because it’s how I become better and learn to progress! 🙂
I love you all. Thank you so much for all your love and support! Don’t forget to write at least once in the next six weeks! 🙂