Thanks for all the emails, and encouraging words. I'm so sorry to hear about Dad's business challenges... That's so neat to hear about the inspiration he received. I think it would be incredible to see the non-profit grow. I love the scripture in Luke 12:30-31 that says "Seek ye the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you." I really believe the Lord will bless you as you do his work. It's definitely taking a leap of faith, but if the spirit is guiding you in that direction, I'd say keep going that way. You all will be in my prayers. Mom, I'm so excited for you and your new calling! You're going to do such a wonderful job.
It's been incredible to learn more about revelation as a missionary. It's really touched my heart lately as I've learned that the Holy Spirit can see the same things that God does. He can see the path of our lives and where it leads. He can see the miracles that can occur if only we follow his guidance, he can see the miracles that lie ahead. It's incredible that we can have God's guidance to be with us each and every day. Although we are physically separated from him, I know without a doubt that we can have him with us each day. As I was listening to the sacrament prayers in church yesterday it really touched my heart to hear, "To have 'his' spirit to be with us always" I know that that is true. We can always have divine guidance to be with us. How incredible to think that we can have a being- spirit with us always who knows the divine destiny of our lives, and can lead us on that path. That perfect plan that Heavenly Father designed for your life. I know he's designed a plan for each one of us individually. I know that we have to go through a lot during this life. Each one of our hard experiences was designed to help us grow. I love the analogy that heavenly father is turning us from coal to diamonds. It takes a lot of heat, and a lot of pressure to turn coal into a diamond, yet in the end that plain piece of coal can be turned into an incredibly valuable precious gemstone. We are being turned into diamonds here. It's painful, it's going to take a lot of discomfort, yet in the end it will be worth it. I know that our Savior has felt all of that pain, and he wants to be with us every step of the way during this refining process.
So, this week had its ups and its downs. We went through the ward list, and we have been going to visit many of the less actives. Many of them are very bitter toward the church, it's so sad to see that many of them are so bitter because they had a difficulty with a person in the ward. I came up with an analogy- " Imagine your favorite dessert. You see someone you are bitter towards eating that favorite dessert and they are enjoying it so much! Because you don't like that person, you decide not to let yourself eat that dessert anymore because if that person you dislike is eating that dessert it must not be good anymore." It's so sad to see that many people because of bitter feelings, keep themselves from tasting of God's love because of imperfect people. We should never deprive ourselves of feeling of God's love or tasting that dessert because of bitter feelings. The two are not associated. I know that the gospel is true, and will always bring joy. Yet, as members we are imperfect, that's why we need the gospel to strive to become perfect.
As well, many of our investigators haven't been keeping commitments, so it's been a hard decision knowing what to do. Sister Strong and I have been fasting and praying, and we feel we need to start from ground zero, and put those investigators in the area book until Heavenly Father prepares them more. After we fasted yesterday, I got this strong feeling that we needed to go see Jane (The woman we took on the church tour.) She isn't in our area, but Bishop McFarland told President Mullen about it, and he gave us special permission to see her. As we biked through the hard rain, we made it to her home. She hesitantly invited us in. We learned her husband had passed a few years ago, and she talked about her family who she loves dearly. We felt prompted to share the "Plan of Salvation" with her. She has a lot of anxiety, yet as we told her, "Jane, you are a daughter of God, and you know him and he knows you and loves you so much." Her anxiety calmed, and tears came to her eyes. She said, "I've never heard that, or thought of it that way." I was touched to see her heart softened. We then explained how to make it to the celestial kingdom, and I happened to have a picture of our family with me and I put it next to the Celestial Kingdom, and told her that it's our goal to make it their together. We explained the blessings of the temple. As we closed the lesson, Jane said, "I love you guys, and I just feel something so special when you come." we explained to her that it was the spirit she was feeling. It was so incredible to get to share all of this with Jane. I've just taken it for granted... I'm so grateful our family can be together forever, and that to live with Heavenly Father and Christ again, all we have to do is live Christ's gospel, Faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, which leads to Repentance (Simply put- changing for the better) Baptism, and Recieving the gift of the Holy Spirit (so we can be guided back to our father in heaven.) and then we must endure to the end (and have all those special ordinances performed) then we can progress forever! What incredible truth we have. I'm so grateful to know these things.
Other miracles of the week- Max has now been sober almost 20 days! We got to teach the Laurels for mutual, and our friend Uilani came with us and shared her conversion story. She's only 17 and she had heard of the church, and researched it for about 2 years. Yet, no one invited her. She associated with several LDS people, yet no one took the initiative to invite. Finally, this last year on her way to a graduation party, she sat by this guy she hadn't met before. He invited her to come to church with him, and she gladly accepted. She was baptized a month later, and before she was even baptized she started going out with the missionaries to help them teach. She is incredible! She comes out to help us teach all the time. Her Mom was baptized two weeks ago. Anyway, she is such an inspiration to me. As she shared her story with the Laurels, I think she really helped them gain the courage to share with their friends. So, don't be afraid to share with your friends, I know only good things can come. :)
~ I have sure gained a testimony of fasting this week. That as we sacrifice, we come so close to the Lord, and are more open to his guidance. As I've fasted more often, I've come to realize how much I need the Lord. The more we sacrifice, the more he will bless us. I love you all so much, and I hope you’re doing well. I pray for you all often, and I'm so grateful for you all in my life!
Hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you guys so much!
Sister Sarah Clark