Dearest Mother and all ya'll,
A lot has happened this past week! My district... shrunk. A lot. We originally had 3 companionships of Elders and a threesome of Sisters. Suffice it to say that one companionship was switched to Mandarin and an Elder from the other companionship was sent home for reasons unexplained. He says it's a 4-6 month delay, and will be back. We certainly hope so! We were very sad to see him go; the whole district is now composed of a threesome of Elders and a threesome of Sisters. It felt tedious at first to be in a threesome, but it has turned out to be a blessing. We are learning a lot from each other on how to teach effectively and share time with each other. Trying to do it in Cantonese.... well, haha. It's good we are learning how to do it now. It'll be a blessing to know how the system works in Hong Kong whenever my companion and I decide to bring a member with us to teach.
Whew! It smells like exhaustion here in the MTC. I swear I don't get it-- during the day sometimes I can more easily fall asleep sitting in a chair than when I'm actually laying in bed at night. But I'm happy to be exhausted. It makes me feel like I'm working hard, and that's what I'm here to do!
Thank you for all the letters to those of you who have sent me them so far! I get SO happy when I have mail. I have plenty of personal time later today in which I will try to respond. But thank you so much, it's comforting to hear from all of you!
This week we have really focused on the "How to Begin Teaching" portion of PMG. Those first few moments are so important with your investigator; you want them to know that you're there to share something with them that will bless their lives beyond their capacity to even comprehend and to establish a relationship of trust and friendship immediately. The Lord prepares both sides of the equation; He knows all of His children and the meeting is prepared. How important is it then that we as missionaries establish that relationship of love and trust in the first few moments when the investigator is already our friend? Our brother or sister? I've learned in my practices how to really make the experience real; and it is so amazing how real it is the love I feel for the investigator, and how much I want them to understand their Heavenly Father's love for them... With every passing day everything appeas more eternal than it was before. But I guess it always has been.
That just leads me into thoughts I've been frequenly having the past week: Missionary work is an act of receiving every bit as much as an act of giving. I'd venture to say that at times it's heavier on the receiving side! In every missionary's call there is a line that says something like, "Greater blessings and happiness then you have yet received await you as you serve faithfully...." It's so true. These rushing feelings of joy that we as missionaries feel every single day, even in the Training Center, are so worth it. I am convinced at the reality of God, and in the reality of Christ. The Holy Ghost just doesn't stop when you consecrate your life to the Lord! Anybody who feels like the "rules" or the "limitations" of the gospel stop them from being completely happy don't realize that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the epitome of liberty! Every door is open. Never stop reading the scriptures. WHOA. Does anybody realize how many scriptures there are for the benefit of mankind? It has dawned on me as I have delved into them out here. One verse... Even a LINE of one verse can change a person's life. And how many pages of scripture do we have? If you aren't reading them, then how can you be free to understand the blessings of God? It's all right there in front of us. Wow. I love being Mormon. It's so legit. Because it's true.
People ask really hard questions. We are admonished to first seek to obtain the word and then to preach it. It has slapped me in the face how much Word obtaining I have to do. I'm so glad I have 12 weeks in the MTC. Even what seems to be the simplest of questions that I thought I had the answer to really aren't that simple.
I've learned something about receiving personal revelation that I wish to share with you all. Revelation is not constant confirmation about every little thing. The point of seeking revelation is the process you go through to receive it. When Joseph Smith first read the scripture in James 1:5, he thought time and again about praying before he did. Much of the revelation process actually happened before he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. We can't expect to always be at the point of "seeing" in revelation because it is a process. Some of the greatest "revelations" we receive happen during that process, so you're always expecting your personal vision in the woods you may end up compromising your small inclinations to do good -- and THAT is what helps people progress. So just do, and do it for the Lord, and He will always be there to back you up. After all, was it not a revelation in and of itself when Joseph Smith had the thought, "if any person needed wisdome from God, I did."
I love you all, and please keep in touch!