Thanks so much for all your emails! It was fun to hear about all the fun things you did this week! Josh is going to do such a great job in "Hello Dolly" Rachel looks gorgeous in her senior pictures, and I can't believe Michael's birthday is coming up this week, how neat that he'll be getting ordained this week! Andrew is so cute, he's growing up so fast! He's such a cutie. Mom, looks like great things are happening with relief society, and I'm excited to hear about what happens with Dad, and this job possibility of working for the MTC! :) It was neat to be able to join you in the fast, I pray everyday for you Dad! I know God cares about you, and he has a plan. I'm so excited for Aunt Janna! She and Uncle Dave are going to be such cute parents! Also, I'm so excited for Natalie and Jennica to be able to serve missions! How fun we'll all be serving at the same time! :)
Well, I've learned so much this week. We started off the week with Family Home Evening at Bishop Boydston's home, it was so gorgeous! It was wonderful to be in a home again. :) We celebrated Allyssa's birthday, so we had cake ice cream and got to mingle with our members. This week was a harder week. More than half of our appointments fell through, and I was starting to get discouraged. Many of those we taught this week had hard hearts. We taught Josh, a guy the 6th ward sisters had met. As we met with him, he didn't accept any of the message we had to share, he told us he had his bible and that was all he needed. I felt so sad for him, he's getting married this next month, and we told him that our message was also about how families can be together forever. As we explained that knowing the truth of the message was based on his commitment to show God he wanted an answer, he told us he had no desire to read the Book of Mormon. We did all in our power to help him accept the Gospel, accept the blessings God wanted him to have, but in turn he rejected it. My heart was torn, I had only met him this once, but through the spirit, I felt how much love God had for him, I felt with all my heart that God wanted Josh to live with him again. I've come to realize I have deeper love for people. At the beginning of my mission I wasn't as heart broken when people rejected the gospel. Now, I know all the incredible blessings they are missing, I know that the only way for them to live with Heavenly Father again- who loves them so so much, is to make promises or covenants with him, so they can enter the gate and feel God's love here, and make it back to him to live with him in the eternities. I've felt a slight glimpse of what Heavenly Father feels, when his children don't choose the path of happiness.
It's funny because as I've prayed to Heavenly Father, for help to become better, that's when he puts a trial in my path. Sister Reed had a neat insight about trials. She said, "When you're happy, you feel fine where you're at. You don't want to make changes in your life. When you are feeling sorrow, you constantly look to see what you need to change in your life to be happy again. Then you have a new skill, characteristic, or attribute that makes you more Christ-like." Looking back on all the trying times on my mission, it's helped me recognize who I've become. I wasn't a bad person before I left, but God has helped me have- more patience, more compassion, knowledge, etc... So when you are going through a difficult time in your life, look back at the person God has shaped you into. He's continually helped me refocus on what is most important. I'm grateful he's given me the trials I've had, they've really made me a better person.
Sister Reed has taught me so much! She shared her story with me. When she was in highschool, she was a dancer. She loved it, it was her greatest pride and joy. She spent hours daily practicing, she even made it to Nationals! Then one day, they found out she had a curve in her spine, the doctor's diagnosed her with scoliosis. She knew at some point she would have to have surgery. Her senior year of high school, she had the corrective surgery. After the surgery, they placed a metal rod, and over 20 screws into her spine. She lost the full ability of her flexibility. She said for the longest time, she was mad at her Heavenly Father. Why would he take away what was most dear to her. She was looking forward to dancing at BYU, and her dreams of dancing with the team her senior year were gone. Then she said something miraculous happened. She was called to be in the laurel class presidency, time she wouldn't have had before, she spent talking with these girls, uplifting and encouraging them, by the end of the year she had made some incredible friends! She said she learned from that experience where her true value was. It was not in her ability to dance, etc.. It was in that she was Heavenly Father's daughter, that she had divine potential. One day she'll be able to dance again. She is always turning outward, I am amazed by the love and compassion she has for everyone. She's truly changed my life. I love her!
Yesterday, I felt like I had nothing left to give, I'd exerted myself each day, only to be rejected continually. I know we planted so many seeds, in people's hearts. Although this week was a difficult one, we had so many tender mercies! We met with several members, who made us feel so loved!
Just like Nephi says in the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi - (Nephi speaking right after he'd had to leave the home he loved, and everything he knew.)
And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had acast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also bsought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender cmercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of ddeliverance.
We had one member Stephen, ask us who he could pray for out of those we are teaching. Nicole made us a whole bag of chocolate chip cookies. Scott is the most kind hearted happy person I've ever met, and he took the time to ask us how we were doing, and just made us feel so loved. God has truly blessed me with so many tender mercies!
I know Heavenly Father will bless each one of you with tender mercies through your trials, remember- the gospel doesn't prevent us from having trials, it equips us with the power to face them and grow from them. I know He loves each one of you so much, and so do I! :) I hope you have a wonderful week!
Much love, Sister Sarah Clark
2056- Chynna, Sister Reed, Clark, Nicole Reed