Monday, March 2, 2015

O, Lord, I Am Yet Strong. Give Me One More Mountain!

Sorry to keep you waiting for this post from February 23, 2015. It is a GREAT one. And for your patience, I will get today's letter up before I do anything else. :)

Well. This week has taught me a lot of things. It's hard to know even where to start. I guess I'll start with the good stuff, hey?

Sister Jones and I were able to give 2 church tours. One to our FB investigator C. And the other to our wonderful investigator L. They both loved it! I personally LOVE teaching lessons in the church because the spirit is always so strong.

We also had district meeting finally. But we decided to just Skype into the meeting. Turns out that's a TERRIBLE idea. #GongShow

The Kinniburghs got a hedgehog named Precious on Friday while we were weekly planning. They called us and asked us to come out and see it. Before we left though we needed to go get gas. As we went in to pay, the cashier started talking to us about how she had tried to find our church last Sunday but when she went in, she couldn't see us there so she left. And then she asked us to call her every Saturday and remind her!!!!

The crazy thing was that her shift was over. So if we hadn't gone to see Precious, we wouldn't have gone to get gas then. And we would never have spoken to her!!! #EverythingHappensForAReason

Now. For the big news.

WE GOT A NEW BRANCH PRESIDENCY!!!!!!!!

Crazy, hey?!?! Everyone totally freaked out! But here's the craziest part: 

They made our super cool South African branch mission leader be the new Branch President!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sister Jones and I totally cried. We couldn't decide if we were super happy cause he's going to be such a brilliant leader, or if we were super sad cause now we don't have a super cool mission leader. Either way. It was so crazy. Oh man. 

The other crazy news:
The stake presidency had a meeting with all the adults and pretty much did the ultimate smack-down. They were like "You're not spiritually mature enough to be a ward. You have the numbers but you don't have the maturity." Turns out that pretty much NO ONE here does their visiting or home teaching. :( And we have enough people on the list to be a ward but 73% of them are in-active. So they basically told us it's a no go for us until everyone can start being TRUE CHRISTIANS!!

So pretty much they said everything the missionaries have wanted them to say for a long time. :)

Ok. So instead of telling you about all the crazy stuff that happened I think I'll just summarize and tell you that it's been emotionally exhausting. Here's why:

As it turns out, we love these people so much more than we even knew we did. On Saturday evening, Sister Jones and I could hardly keep ourselves from crying because of it. So many people think we're teaching them because we want them to get baptized. Or they think we have to reach a quota or something. They think we're only their friends if they take the lessons.

BUT THAT'S NOT TRUE!

We do everything we do because we LOVE these people! So much. I can't even describe how much I love them all.

I love them even when they relapse and block us from Facebook in their drunken stupors. I love them even when they say they'll come to church but they don't. I love them even when they forget to keep commitments. I love the ones who have a lot of faith and the ones with no faith at all. I love member, less-actives, investigators, and strangers. I love them.

So much that I can hardly keep myself from crying when I hear they are struggling. My heart is FULL of joy when they tell me their successes.

In Preach My Gospel, it describes God this way:

"God is our Heavenly Father. He loves us. He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right. He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer."

This week Sister Jones and I experienced that. We felt God's love for the people here. So much that we wept when they suffered and we rejoiced when they did what was right.

On the 2015 youth theme soundtrack there's a song that goes like this:

"We want to make a difference
and help them find their way.
Maybe if they knew we loved them,
they'd want to make a change.
We can start a fire
burning in their hearts.
We can be a light
shining through the dark.
We can be the friend that's there every time they call.
We don't need to yell.
We don't gotta shout.
We can be the hand that lifts them off the ground.
We can show them without saying anything at all."

I truly love these people. Yes. It gets hard here. After all we do work with a lot of people struggling with severe addictions. Yeah we get a lot of flaky investigators. Yes. Sometimes it's pretty discouraging. But when trouble comes, I square my shoulders and say:

"O, Lord, I am yet strong. Give me one more mountain." (Elder Holland, For Times of Trouble)

Love,
Sister Whiting

"Who knew a hedgehog could be a missionary tool?" :D
Exchanges from last transfer

Remember a super long time ago when I was a greenie and I went on my first exchanges with Sister Boyd? Well Here she is!! She came back for a visit!!

Precious the Hedgehog

Trying not to get skewered!

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