Hey family and friends of the far far away land! I hope that all is well with you on the other side! Man, sorry I couldn’t email yesterday. The internet was out all over so it just came on today so we have a few minutes to send something short and sweet! First off I have to say thanks to all my lovely family that talked to me on Mother’ Day. It is always great to hear from you guys! I love you lots and can’t wait to see you again! These past few weeks have been pretty hectic and hard between being sick and hitting 9 months and training it all has been alot, but it has at the same time been a wonderful blessing! I honestly can’t even begin to describe the things that I have learned and realized about myself these past few weeks. My area is honestly one of the hardest and even though I have been here about 4 months we still have not found the success that others have. I often times wonder why and I have really been hard on myself. We spend alot of time contacting and tracting and we just find that many people have been born in their church and it’s their family church and It’s hard for them to leave or they have only heard bad things about the church. Either way it makes it somewhat difficult and trying at times.
But last week was officially my 9 month mark! Yes half way there. I think that since then I have been really doing some self evaluating. The branch that I am in has been slowly going down hill to the point where we are lucky if we have 20 people at church. Most of our members have stopped coming and we struggle to get people to come to church and stay because there aren’t any people there with them. So honestly I had the question of why these things were happening. Why the area is struggling, why the branch is struggling, and why even when we try our best we seem to not be doing as well as the other missionaries. I however had the opportunity to read the talk that President Monson gave at his last conference in November 2013 "I Will Not Fail Thee, or Forsake Thee." In this talk he really talked about trials and how Heavenly Father never leaves us alone. He talked about trials and even said something that hit me to the core. He said that, "if the gospel is the center of our lives it will pull us through and we will become refined and grow." He even went on that God blesses us with so many things and he allows those trials so that we can learn and grown.
Often times I think that I forget that trials are a part of the plan. Trials help us to grow and they make us stronger. Life is about become better and stronger. More like the Savior and our Heavenly Father. It brings to my mind the poem "Good timber does not grow with ease, the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees." It is true for us too. The winds of life are often times hard. Sometimes we may think they are too strong and that we might break. When I read the account of Joseph Smith in the grove it talks about Joseph being overcome by this dark power. He said they he used all of his strength to fight and just when he was about to give up he saw a pillar of light exactly above his head. He didn't just go to the grove and God appeared right then and there. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ waited until Joseph was about to give up. When he was at his breaking point. I realized that sometimes this is what God does. Not because he doesn't love us, but to help us. He never leaves us. He loves us. We just have to find the lesson that we have to learn.
Honestly my mission has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I have been pushed to the edge, even when I thought I couldn't make it, God's hand was always there and I have grown so much. I just hope that as I continue on my journey that I continue to grown and stretch.
I want to become the person that Heavenly Father knows that I can be. I hope that we all remember this and remember that he will never leave us and that he is always there. He knows us perfectly. He knew us before we were born and he knows what we are capable of, but we have to have FAITH. I love being a missionary. I love the good and the bad. I know that this is something that I will never forget. I have gained so much more than I have lost.
I love you all and I hope that you continue to be strong. I pray for you all and I hope that you have a wonderful week!!!