Congrats on making it to the end of school! Sorry Dad and Stephen but you're not done quite yet. ;) Good thing there's weekends, right?? I hope you all have some great summer plans, like reading the Book of Mormon or going door knocking, maybe even personal contacting if you feel up to it. As for me, summer just means shirtless people everywhere and that's proving to me really.... interesting. Oh, missionary life!This week was good! We had the super fun opportunity to go to Holland, Michigan. It's a city here which is really confusing. Imagine my confusion my first day in the field when President Hess told my companions that a sister got transferred to Holland. (I was really impressed with transfers in this mission haha.) Twice a year the mission has a Half Mission Activity Day and half the missionaries gather at a time for a half day of togetherness. This one was an outdoor picnic which, let me tell you, gets five times more fun when it pours rain all day. By the end we were all covered in mud and grass. Sister Richardson thoroughly enjoyed herself, taking half the field home with us on her clothes. We all had fun and it was definitely a needed break! Sadly for most of us, this will be our last time seeing President and Sister Hess. President and Sister Hess have served their three years and we will be getting President and Sister Jacobsen at the end of the month. I will definitely miss them but I'm excited for the new president!
Part of the day's activities were group games, one of which being a "Tug-A-War". To make the rounds go faster, the zone leaders in charge put two districts on end of the rope. Before the first round, Sister Richardson said, "Watch the missionaries break the rope." My district went in the second round and we started pulling when all of the sudden there was a SNAP and we all went tumbling down. We broke the rope! That effectively ended that game.
We've had a great week! Our investigators are making progress! We watched "Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration" with Debra on Saturday. She has been wanting to watch it; Joseph Smith is a touchy subject out here. I don't know who benefited more from watching it: Deb or us. Sister Richardson and I were crying by the end. What a powerful movie! I am so grateful for the prophet Joseph Smith. His life is a testimony of the Truth. He wasn't perfect but he was called of God to restore His church and to usher in the last dispensation. What a tremendous calling. Deb has accepted to be baptized and we asked her to pray about a date. We are trying to work with her health problems and get something consistent going. We have two other investigators who have accept to be baptized and we're trying to help them progress as well.
I had an epiphany this week. This may not be one to you but it was to me. I've been studying the Atonement this transfer and I have all of these notes and scriptures and talks but I was kind of lost when I came to the "applying" part. How could I apply the Atonement outside of repentance? We talk about using the Atonement to become what God wants us to be but how do we do that? As far as I can remember, no one has ever told me HOW to apply the Atonement. They just say TO apply the Atonement. I was reviewing my notes this week when all of the sudden it clicked. Applying the Atonement is changing. That is the beauty of God's plan- it's for us to CHANGED to become like Him, physically and spiritually. The Atonement allows us to change from our natural man into the person Heavenly Father wants us to be. Brad Wilcox says, "All of us are saved by grace. But have you been changed by grace?" Are we praying to change every day, to become better? When we're faced with opposition great or small, are we praying that God will help us change to overcome that challenge His way? Are we actively working to overcome our natural man tendencies? This epiphany has changed how I see things. I want to be changed. I want to become that person that Heavenly Father sees is me. I know I can be changed. I know you can be changed. Jesus Christ not only made it possible for us to change, but he wants us to change and he wants to help us change. I hope that I can apply this principle the rest of my life.
This Friday is transfer calls! I'm pretty sure that I will be here for at least one more transfer, possibly two. Sister Richardson is going home next week so I'm 99.999999999% positive that I will be getting a new companion. But God can do whatever He wants so.....
I love you all so much. Your letters mean so much to me. I am so blessed with a Christ-centered family. Keep up all of your hard work! "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!" (D&C 128:22)