I have felt such overwhelming joy this week. The spirit has been so strong in all aspects - I have felt Him testify of truth, I have felt Him aid me in what direction I need to take and what decisions I need to make, and I have felt Him bring peace and comfort to my soul. He has been VERY present! I have seen many miracle in the past 7 days, and each day has brought new knowledge and lasting happiness as I have seen people be changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including myself! God is continuing to humble me, and I am grateful for it, because with each trial comes a blessing that brings an equal or greater among of happiness and peace. I have felt both ends of the spectrum this week.
We taught some good lessons! We contacted one referral that is a new couple in the ward with a 15 month old daughter. They aren't married, but are apparently both active members of the church. We went over to visit them, and they live with 9 very nice nonmembers. :) We only met 2 and a half of them (the half being the 2 week old baby), but they are just gems! We chatted with all of them for about 45 minutes, and were able to share the Because of Him video from last Easter. There's a new video coming out this year called "Because He Lives" that I am super excited about. We got to watch a preview of it a few weeks ago at the mission conference, and it is just as good as the Because of Him video. I'm stoked to be able to share it with the people we teach! Anyway, we got a return appointment with the new family and with all the people in the house! We are going over tonight to do a Family Home Evening of sorts with them all and get to know them a bit. I'm super excited about it. Missionaries LOVE referrals! And all of the ones we contacted this week are gold. Please give the missionaries names of people to visit! Heavenly Father always softens the hearts of those people who are given to the missionaries to teach by other people. It's amazing to watch.
We also had some amazing meetings this week. We had a great Stake Conference this weekend, and a wonderful zone meeting that the Assistants to the President came and talked to us at, and their testimonies were SOOOO powerful. Elder Tauteoli (who was my Zone Leader for 2 transfers in the Vancouver West Stake) and Elder Thangaraj are the AP's, and as they bore their testimonies, I felt the spirit testify to me of the importance of this work. They told us their personal conversion stories and explained why they are so serious about his work, and it made perfect sense. It breaks my heart to know that there are missionaries in the world who are serving missions because of peer pressure or because it's an obligation or because it gets them away from real life for 2 years. This is NOT a joke, and I have had a reaffirmed witness of just how important it really is. I hope and pray that every missionary who has been trusted to go out and preach the word of God has found a sincere desire and the motivation to be there and to be working hard. I know I find that over and over again each day, and I am so grateful to know that Heavenly Father trusts me enough to allow me to be out here teaching His children.
Another great meeting we had this week was the Addiction Recovery Program Meeting that we attend weekly. It's so interesting to attend those meetings, and I learn so much from the people that go every week. There's a "Mission Statement" of sorts for the group which most of you have probably heard of, but it is the "Serenity Prayer," and it goes like this:I love that! It has been so applicable this transfer... Haha we have been sick for the majority of the time I have been here, and this week was no different. Originally, Sister Eyerly was sick, but as the week went on, it switched over AGAIN and I ended up being the one super ill over the weekend. I have often found myself asking, "Heavenly Father, why is this happening? I am doing what you called me here to do." But I shoo those thoughts away immediately. I know that God doesn't do random. I know that every circumstance serves a purpose, so instead I pray for God to "grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." That's sort of become my motto over the past 4 weeks. Each time I ask myself something like, "Why is this happening?" He always provides an answer. For example, I had a blessing this week to help with my sickness, and in the blessing, God gave me revelation that has NOTHING to do with being sick. But if I hadn't been sick, I never would have had a blessing, and I wouldn't have been able to receive the revelation He gave me so clearly.
On top of all of this goodness, yesterday (March 15) was the one year anniversary of the first baptism I was able to be a part of on my mission! Happy 1 Year Membership in the Church, Liz! That brought me joy too. :)
Despite the difficulties and the trials that we have been facing as the "sicky missionaries" this transfer, I am reminded that there is opposition in all things. We must feel sorrow in order to understand joy. We must feel pain in order to comprehend peace. God answered Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail with these words of comfort:
"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."
-Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8
Yes, there will be trials. Yes, they will be hard. But as long as we endure them well, and continue with faith, we will be exalted on high, and rewarded with eternal life in the kingdom of God. For those who are struggling in any way, please remember this. And remember that your Heavenly Father is mindful of you, and wants you to feel happiness. Which is often why you are feeling sorrow first - just so that you can understand how great peace and comfort feel! You can have that peace and comfort through the Holy Ghost, and I would encourage you all to seek for that. I love you, and will talk to you next week!
Sister Nicole Guilott