Monday, January 5, 2015

2015: Striving to be Better

Lots of feelings this week. So many happy things happened, like opportunities to become anew with the motivation of a New Year, interviews with President Taylor, my favorite milkshake coming back to Burgerville (Chocolate Hazelnut. It's seriously to die for, but unfortunately doesn't help my New Years Resolutions), miraculous lessons with investigators and wonderful inspiration coming during testimony meeting at church. At the same time, some not so happy things have come too... We had a horrendous meal that was quite possibly the worst meal of my mission, and.... We got transfer letters. :( Nooooooooo!!!!! President had told us on my birthday that we were going to be staying together for Sister Borchardt's last transfer, and we were super excited! He then told us this week at interviews that he knows he needs to learn to hold his tongue because every time he tells us that transfers are going to go a certain way, God tells him later that it is not so. Haha. So he told us that Sister Borchardt is going to the Fisher's Landing Ward (with Sister Lammi) in the Vancouver East Stake, and I am receiving Sister De Leon (who is Sister Lammi's current companion). This transfer is going to be the biggest transfer in mission history because only 12 companionships out of 200 missionaries are staying together. The rest of us are being separated. I'm grateful I'm getting Sister De Leon because I already know I'll like her, but I am sad to be losing my dearest Sister Borchardt. I'm never happy about transfers though. I have loved every companion I've ever served with, so I am always kinda sad when transfer letters come. But I trust President because I know he only ever does things if God tells him to. So ultimately, it's God who decided things about this transfer. And I DEFINITELY trust Him. 
"I promise this milk shake is the best thing in the world.  So good!"
"I'm gonna miss this girl."
We had an AMAZING lesson this week with Analee. Surprised? Me neither. We had told her last time that we were going to read the Book of Mormon with her this time so she could ask questions and progress in her reading, so that's what we did. We went in there and started reading Alma 32, which is about faith. As we began reading, Cynthia came in with her Book of Mormon and said she would like to read with us too. Half an hour later, Kathy saw us and came in too! I opened a Book of Mormon to the page we were at, and she joined us too! It was wonderful! And it was EXACTLY the chapter that they needed that day. Each of us ended up crying and relating to the chapter in a different and personal way. It was a miracle lesson for sure. Kathy kept her Book of Mormon, and they are all excited to read more and learn more. I couldn't believe it. But at the same time, I could because miracles always happen when we teach there. :) 

That lesson was stellar, and then that night, we ate a rancid dinner... When we got  there, I saw vegetables on the stove and got all excited, but that wasn't what was served first... The mom brought over this HUGE pot and said, "I hope you like mushrooms!"  I love mushrooms, so I was actually rather excited. ...Until she served me  She used a ladle and scooped out three big scoops of this brown watery broth with white and brown things swimming around in it, then proceeded to pick 4 giant mushrooms out of the bottom of the pot and put them into my bowl.  The color and smell was wrong... And they were each the size of my fist.  I was terrified.  I couldn't cut them apart with my spoon no matter how much I sawed at it, so I finally just lifted a whole one to my mouth, said a prayer, and went for it.   It was the most disgusting thing I have every eaten.  It was rubbery, definitely not chewable, and each time I chewed, some juicy and swimming things would squirt out of it and into my mouth.  It was awful.  I looked at Sister Borchardt, and she was having just as difficult of a time getting them down as I was.  It was terribly awkward too, because no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't keep the hint of disgust off our faces.  We survived though!  They fed us some super yummy stir fry afterwards, and that made it all better. :) Hurray for that!

Enough stories. I want to share with you what I have learned this week. With the New Year, I am determined to achieve my Resolutions! So I made some pretty simple ones that I know I can accomplish. :) Everything about New Years implies that we are each going to do our best to become a "new person," and we are all given the chance to have a "new start" or a "clean slate." I am particularly excited about that, because that means I can do my absolute best to focus everything I have on the work. All of my resolutions are directed at missionary work and how I can personally improve and become a better missionary, and I know I can do it because it is the Lord's work, and they are righteous desires, so I know He will help me. Along with the New Year, our Bishop talked about his theme for the year yesterday in sacrament meeting when he bore his testimony. He said his theme for 2015 is the word "striving." We can't guarantee how this are going to go and how we are going to change, but we can always be striving to do better. We can strive to be kinder, strive to be more positive, strive to study the scriptures and pray more, etc. etc. God asks our best, and if we are striving to come closer to Him in all that we do, we are doing it right and He is proud of us. The only kind of failure is giving up. Not achieving our goals at exactly the level we set them is no big deal, as long as they remain our goals and we are continually striving to do better. As long as we are striving to come closer to our Savior, who is calling to us with open arms. 
Something else cool that goes along with all this is baptism. Yesterday, January 4th, was my 12 year baptism anniversary. 12 years ago, I was baptized and confirm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My sins were washed away and I was given a clean slate and a new start, along with one of the greatest gifts of all: the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I was given the third member of the Godhead to be with me always so that I could have help keeping my new slate clean. The spirit comforts me and keeps my focus on what is right. I am so grateful for the miracle of baptism and confirmation, and for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I am grateful I was given the chance to become better and start anew, and for the ability to strive for Christlike perfection. I know that is in achievable here on earth, but that is why the word "striving" is so great! My Heavenly Father is merciful, my Savior is the way, and the Holy Ghost is how I am able to communicate with them. For this New Year, I am going to strive to be closer to my Savior, and strive to share His Gospel with everyone who will listen. I love my mission, I love the Lord, and I love 2015!!! Happy New Year!

Love Always,

Sister Nicole Guilott

P.S. More fun pictures from the week. :) It was a good one. 
"Our surrogate parents and wonderful people we live with, the Roniger's."

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