I hope all of you are doing splendidly! You all seem a little silent lately, so I hope you're all alive and well and stuff. I miss you!
For those of you concerned by my health, stop your worrying! I'm on the road to a full recovery, which we saw by our increase in numbers this week. 37 lessons! Over the Standard of Excellence, which is a relief. I was feeling so responsible for our decrease in numbers, it feels good to be up there again. Legazpi Mission rising up!
I don't have much to say this week since unfortunately, not much happened. But we did have a crazy experience that I didn't even realize was significant until I thought about it more.
So we usually go to this one area named Binitayan three times a week, usually on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. So we planned as usual, but since we had exchanges, we were a little confused about where we would take the Sister Training Leaders since our plan had us going to all of our areas . We just sort of ignored it, figuring we'd just tract a lot. But later in the day, we both thought we should change our plan. No big deal, we selected one of the four areas we were going to and pushed it to the next day, . We didn't think about it anymore.
Exchanges went well and I effectively proved my efficiency in leading the area. But the next day,, when Sister Sanchez and I returned to Binitayan, we found the area and jungle road that we usually walk down oddly quiet. We went to our first house to teach a less active, and the Nanay came out and whispered to us that her husband wasn't here, he was farther down our route with some other men. We were super confused - she was whispering and looking around a lot. So we asked what was up and she explained that , a wedding had been held along our usual jungle route. The guests drank too much, and a man was murdered - stabbed to death - right on our usual road. The man who killed him still was hiding in the jungle. So we turned right around and left since it wasn't safe. He was caught the next day though.
We were just shocked to realize that if we hadn't changed our Binitayan plan, we would have probably been along that road at the precise moment the wedding and the fight happened. What seemed at the time like an innocent choice to shift our schedule turned out to be a prompting from the Holy Ghost that kept us out of harms way. It was incredible to realize how blessed and protected we are as missionaries. We hadn't even "felt" the Holy Ghost, but we just last minute decided to change plans. It reminded me of a David A. Bednar talk where he mentions that sometimes we receive promptings that we don't know is the Holy Ghost until later, sometimes years! I am so thankful that we listened to the still, small voice!
Today is my 8 month missionary anniversary. WHAT? Can we just take a minute to freak out that time is literally growing wings? *furiously flies out the door to teach more people*
But in all seriousness, I've discovered that most days I and other missionaries don't feel like we've accomplished much here in the mission. And I know this is discouragement telling me that, and that I shouldn't be comparing baptisms as accomplishments. So I was thinking about accomplishments in my mission, and I just really came up with the fact that some people love me now that didn't love me before. Even if I don't have twenty baptisms, I have new friends. There are new people looking into the church, feeling the spirit that weren't before. And then if we look at my life? That's changed most of all.
I want so much more for my life than I did before. I want to be so much more. I want to accomplish so much more. But I want all of this in the right way, and I want my life to be so much more close to what Heavenly Father wants. I want to do things now that weren't top priority before: temple service, family history, relief society, service, ward missionary work. I want me and my family to study the scriptures every night together! That's such a simple thing, and I look back to before my mission when my parents wanted to do it and we just didn't think it was that important. That could have helped me so much in the past and I missed that opportunity. So now I know that they only way my family is going to make it is if we stick close to the gospel.
I was touched yesterday by something President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said that I read in the April 2014 Priesthood Session of General Conference in his talk entitled "Are You Sleeping Through the Restoration?":
"There is too much a stake for us as individuals, families, and as Christ's Church to give only a halfhearted effort to this sacred work."
I've got to give it my all here in the mission, baptisms or no baptisms. We have to give it our all every day to share and grow in the gospel. I understand this more than I ever have before. And I'm so excited that I'm finally in the process of becoming someone who can gladly say that I'm doing everything I can to follow God's plan for me and my family.
"The Church is true, the Book is blue, and Moroni is always on the ball!"
I LOVE YOU! Be safe, be smart!
Love love love,