Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 9th

Fam! So fantastic hearing from you! I LOVE THE TREE HOUSE. And the picture of Rachel and the rice cooker...I might have to print that one out and hang it in my room. Gooood stuff right there. 

This last week was a little rough. It was so hard to visit people, because everyone was out of town for the Fourth of July. Our number of lessons was pretty low. BUT, here are some of the week highlights! 

1. The Fourth of July! Our ward had a party the morning of the fourth and we got to help with it! Our investigators all bailed at the last moment, but Sister Montgomery and I had a great opportunity to know the members and talk with some less active people who showed up. We were in charge of the face painting area and, even though we had drawn up some suggestions of what they could ask for (an American flag, fireworks, a heart, etc), they came up with some crazy requests. To name a few: Shawn the Sheep (Who is that?? Never heard of that character in my life), a Ninjago ninja (I did know that one, courtesy of Luke), an albino crocodile, a Star Wars Clone, and the cub sign. So much fun. After the party, we let the elders use our car and walked over to visit an older gentleman in our ward. On our way over, we were able to talk to someone on the streets about the church for a while (which was fantastic! It is really hard to street contact, because a lot of people are plugged in or talking on the phone. Ohhhh, technology). After visiting the member, we were walking back home (the mission president told us we had to be back inside our apartment by 7, because there are a lot of drunk drivers out on the Fourth) and both Sister Montgomery and I felt like we needed to visit a less active member named Ed, who lived in a retirement home nearby. We talked to Ed for a little while and gave a lesson on hope (D&C 6:34). To close the lesson, Sister Montgomery said the prayer and in it she said, "Please help Ed to be happy." Ed stopped us after and told us, with tears in his eyes, that he was suffering from depression and the fact that she had prayed for him to be happy meant a lot to him. He also told us about how he really wanted to go back to church, but did not feel worthy enough. We shared with him the story of the Prodigal Son, telling him that the son also did not feel worthy to come back to his father, But, as the son made the trek home, his father saw him on the road and ran to him. We told Ed that, as long as he was trying to make his way back to His Father in Heaven, the Lord would help him and welcome him back with open arms. He agreed to pray about it and said that he was going to try to come back to church soon! Such a neat experience!

2. Some of the sisters in our district announced in district meeting that they had a baptism, so Sister Montgomery and I decided to invite Edmund. He agreed to come. However, when we got down to the chapel where the baptism was suppose to take place, there was no one there. We called the sisters and discovered that the baptism was scheduled for the next day. We were super embarrassed; the chapel was a good 30 minutes away from our area and Edmund had already arrived by the time we tried to call him about our mistake. But, it actually turned out really well. We got to show Edmund the baptismal font and explain more about the sacred ordinance. He said that it really helped him as he was trying to make his decision. 

3. During companion study on Saturday, we had to watch a small selection of a video called "The District." One of the things that stuck out in the video was a comment from one of the sisters, who said, "When we are having dinner with members, we always try to stay as focused as we can on missionary work. The members know who we are and why we are hear and they expect it." I realized that that was something that we did not do as much as we should at. It is always so awkward bringing up the subject of referrals and missionary work too much dinner, because none of the members ever have anyone for us to visit, that we would often avoid the subject until the end. I decided that I would try to bring up the topic early in the conversation later that night. During dinner, the member family began asking us the usual questions (where do you come from, how many kids were in your family, etc). We answered the questions and I started talking about our investigators. I then asked them if they had talked to anyone about the Gospel before. The parents both told us stories about people they had talked to and lessons they had taught. The wife, who had served a mission, began telling us some of her favorite mission stories. After she finished one of the stories, she said, "I use to be so much better at talking about the Gospel to people. I am really going to work on that this week." Score!! 

4. I GOT LETTERS TODAY!! Thank you Emma, Luke, Rachel, Mom, and Diane! You guys are amazing and completely made my day! Mom, I loved, loved, loved the skirt (I am already getting tired of my clothes... not a good sign) and am so grateful for the cook book. I also hung up the snoopy flag in my room to remind me of you guys!

Thanks for the prayers! I can definitely feel them in my life and it is such a huge comfort to know that I have people supporting me back home! I still have not heard anything about my visa, but I know the Lord put me here for a reason! 

Quick spiritual thought!
At the beginning of Ether 12:48, it states "If men come unto me, I will show unto men their weakness." My first thought after reading this was "That is terrible! It is hard enough to come unto Christ, but having our shortcomings revealed in the process makes it so much harder!" Then, I realized that of course we see our flaws more as we come unto the Savior. As we try to become like Him, we will no doubt recognize that we definitely fall short. It is inevitable when coming unto Christ that you won't find something you need to improve on. It is that recognition of our flaws that allows us to meekly and humbly call upon the Lord for strength and desire to change. I know that I have never felt my shortcomings more acutely than I do now, as I am trying my best to come unto Him. It is what motivates me to make the difficult step of putting my faith completely in Christ and relying on his power to be healed and improved. And as I put this faith in him, I am promised in that same verse that He will "make weak things become strong."

Come unto Christ! Recognize your flaws! Because with His help, you can overcome all things! 

Love, Sister Sarah Bennion

PS More pictures to come I promise! I left my camera at home today!

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