What a busy, busy week it has been! It has been exhausting, but I love when it's that way because the work feels so satisfying. My new companion is Sister Bristol Walton from Saldatna (sp?), ALASKA! Is that cool or what? She just turned 19 this summer and is very kind and sweet. I picked her up in Henderson on Wednesday, fresh out of the MTC! It was neat watching all the new Elders and Sisters come in because I was just in their position not too long ago. I reminisced on all the feelings I had when I first stepped foot off the plane in Las Vegas. What an exciting time! I'm grateful to be a part of it again with Sister Walton.
This was one of our first conversations -
Me: So what did you do before your mission?
Sis. Walton: I actually spent a year up at BYU Provo.
Me: Oh, me too! Where did you live?
Sis. Walton: In New Heritage.
Me: Oh, me too! What building were you in?
Sis Walton: Building 28
Me: Oh... ME TOO!
Whaaat? Turns our we lived in the same building 2 floors apart, on the same side of the hall. Crazy! We took the same stairwell everyday and probably passed each other a number of times, but never once met! She grew up in Alaska and goes commercial fishing for salmon every summer... seriously amazing. She's big into snowboarding (she hit every ski resort in Utah while up at school), and has Taylor Swift hair, so naturally I like her ;) Haha but really, she is awesome and I'm excited to get to know her better. We're still in the "getting-to-know-you" stage, but we are having fun! She is fearless in diving into the work and is never hesitant to try something new - which isn't how I was when I first got out, so it's been refreshing and contagious to be around her fired up spirit! Lake Havasu/Crossman Peak Ward is the perfect area to train because the ward is so supportive, so I don't feel alone in trying to show Sister Walton the ropes. As we drove back to Havasu from Henderson, I told Sister Walton all about the ward and how lucky she is to serve there. Since Sister Cook has been the driver for the past 3 months, I didn't exactly know where I was going and we ended up getting lost in California for a bit until we finally made it back to Havasu at about . Ha! We hadn't eaten since , so we were starving and whooped. The Mundy's called us up and we went over to have eggs, bacon, and toast at their house. It was a perfect welcoming gift for Sister Walton and as we walked out she said, "They were so nice!" I nodded in agreement and said, "See, I told you you'd be taken care of!" She and I have nothing to worry about as we continue to adjust into our missionary service.
One thing I really wanted to show Sister Walton right off the bat was how important obedience and goal-setting are. They are KEY to our success! We had a long planning session , during which we made a "Plan of Action", which is basically a blue print for goal-setting that Sister Arnold showed us at Zone training a few weeks ago. In it, you prayerfully plan how many baptisms we want to have in our time together (so, 3 months), what Christlike attribute we individually want to work on, what our part in the work is, what the Lord's part in the work is, and then we say "an intense prayer to seal the deal" (Sister Arnold). After planning out everything, we wrote it up on the huge whiteboard we have in our apartment so that everyday we visualize what we're working towards in all of our efforts. We have so much work and growing to do.
While in Vegas waiting to pick up the new missionaries, I stayed with another sister - Sister Pantoja - who is also training. During our morning studies on Wednesday, I flipped through a binder of talks/messages she's collected throughout her mission (she's been out 15 months). One of the talks was "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary" by Tad R. Callister. I'd heard of it, and I'd read a few other missionary talks similar to it, but I hadn't actually read that one yet. I was moved by a few passages in particular. I'll share some of them:
"You young missionaries came out here to change the world, to change lives, but there is a cost. It costs everything that you have on the altar of sacrifice - your fears, your pride, your laziness, your disobedience, your weaknesses; we cannot hold anything back. When you came to the mission field, you burned bridges behind you, you burned the ships in the harbor. There is NO RETREAT to your former life. You cannot have one foot at home and one foot in the mission field. That is a certain formula for frustration. The Lord demands our whole soul on the sacrificial altar. That is the price we must pay, and when we do, we then become instruments in the hands of God."
"Each of us might appropriately ask, 'What lack I yet to become a consecrated missionary?' There is no escaping it. God will demand our all. If we are shy or reserved - God will compel us to change, to be bold. He will jerk us out of our comfort zones again and again. If we are lazy or idle, he will push us and pull us even when we are exhausted. If we are disobedient, he will press us until we have child-like submissiveness. He will not let us be content with our weaknesses."
After reading most of the talk, I felt overwhelmed. It seems I always feel that way after reading missionary talks, because all my shortcomings and weaknesses become so abundantly clear. I see where I lack in every area, and I cringe knowing I haven't reached my potential. I grow impatient, frustrated, anxious. Then I read this last passage, and I felt relief:
"I do not think the Lord expects immediate perfection of us, but I do believe he expects immediate progress, and with that progress comes consecration. I believe that He recognizes and appreciates every step we take forward, however small it may be, striving to put our whole souls on the altar of sacrifice. At first, consecration may seem like Mount Everest, unconquerable, unapproachable, unassailable, but every step we take forward, however minute it may seem, furthers our ascent, until one day we have attained the summit. May we not be content with being good, even a great missionary, when we have the capacity to be consecrated missionaries. Mormon declares with boldness: 'Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people that they might have everlasting life.' (2 Nephi 5;13) May it be so with each of us."
I feel like these words apply to everyone, not just missionaries. The Law of Consecration is a celestial law. It is the way of Heaven, and if we are to attain that degree of glory, we must live that law with exactness. At times that seems daunting and unachievable, but I am comforted by the promise in the Doctrine and Covenants that we will be "enabled to keep [his] laws" as we live and declare His word (D&C 44:5).
This week I got 2 packages - one from EG and one from Sister Roaming with letters from all the Young Women. What sweet surprises! I was so touched. And of course she sent a huge bag of nuts with it (how'd she know? :) ). And EG sent some nuts too, with a candle, and socks, and a sweet card, and all kinds of other goodies. I seriously am spoiled.
I'm so happy you read that talk I told you about by Cleon Skousen! It is such deep doctrine, but so fascinating and eye-opening. I loved it, and I refer to it regularly. I'm also happy to hear you're enjoying nursery. It must be fun to serve together. Keep me updated on house plans and work and everything. And tell Borgs to send me pictures already (!!!!!). I literally have no visuals of your summer or school year, ya chub (you can just email me them off your phone!). That's cool about the new car. But I'm so glad I didn't have to drive it (stick shift, yikes!). I've also been bragging to some members that my brother served as a football captain and that football has been going well down there in Texas, haha! Oh, and as for the "Meet the Mormons" movie that's coming out next month - I am SO thrilled about it! President Snow said we can go see it in theaters if we get an investigator to go and pay for our ticket. AHH, how exciting. Our mission made pass-along cards with the movie logo on it to pass out to people. We're not sure if it's coming to Havasu yet, but we're moving forward like it is anyways :) Haha. Tell people about it! Invite people to see it! Our stake president, President Lundin, has seen it and says it's amazing. Non-members who go to see it will view the church through whole new eyes. I can't wait!
Thank you for all the love and support you show me. It sustains me every day. I get giddy to read your emails each week!
All my love,