This week absolutely flew! In fact this past year absolutely flew! This time last year I was checking off some of the last few temples on my Utah temple road trip on my way to Lake Powell. Laughter on the water turned into late night conversations with my cousin where we could only imagine what serving a mission was like. I had less than 20 days before I entered the MTC [Missionary Training Center]. (Now she has less than 20 days before entering the MTC) I was filled with hopeful anticipation as well as a lot of fear. The only way I could deal with this fear was reminding myself why I wanted to go on a mission in the first place.
“We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him…”
I had repeated it weekly for a total of about 315 times before I even left on my mission. I knew it was true with all of my heart, and I had the greatest desire for everyone else to know it too.
It still gets me through the hard times, the self doubt, the discouraging rejections. Every time I say it to myself, it makes me smile. Every time I get to testify to someone else that they have a loving Father in Heaven, I smile even bigger.
There’s an older member we call every night to read scriptures and pray with. She reads along at home with her magnifying glass and respectfully listens as we help her understand more of the Gospel. Every phone call ends with us saying, “We love you! Heavenly Father also loves you very much!” This week she told us that is her favorite part of every phone call.
Telling people you love them in this country is actually not a cultural norm. My recent convert Zeng JM still laughs every time I tell her that I love her. But last night, she was the first one to tell me that she loves me. It honestly meant the world to me. But I decided to ask her why…and her answer meant even more. She told me she loved me because I helped her at a time in her life where she thought there was no good and no light. I brought her a glimpse of hope, and that hope turned into a knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father who was always aware of her and waiting to bless her.
Sunday night, Zeng JM came with us to family home evening where we watched a video called “Our True Identity”. It’s a talk given by Elder Uchtdorf where he mentions that, “Most confusion in our lives is a result of not knowing who we truly are.” He then goes on to retell the story of “The Ugly Duckling”.
Elder Uchtdorf urges us to look beyond our imperfections and reflect on who we truly are — sons and daughters of a glorious Heavenly Father.
Earlier this week we had been sharing the Plan of Salvation with a few of our friends. All four of them for some reason or another can’t imagine themselves as a beloved child of God and refuse the opportunity to pray to Him. It broke my heart, that they weren’t even willing to try and see if God was there. All I could do was testify to them again that there is a God, and He loves us so very much. I felt the Spirit testify to me again that this statement is true.
Elder Uchtdorf goes on to talk about the effects of knowing this truth. If only we understood where we come from and who we are, our hearts truly would overflow with gratitude and joy and a hope that can brighten even the darkest of times. Zeng JM as well as myself have experienced this truth.
I thought back to the first time I watched this video in Young Women’s and remember crying as I felt how much God truly did and does love me.
Missionary work starts with love. It continues in the covenants we make. Members of the church not only renew baptismal covenants, but also make a new covenant each week we take the Sacrament to take the name of Christ upon us. Missionaries make a new covenant every morning as we quite literally take the name of Jesus Christ upon us when we put on our nametags. God’s promise to both members and missionaries alike, is to always have His Spirit to be with us. This was something our Mission President’s wife pointed out to us this week at Zone Conference. I know God is with me as I am telling other people how much He loves them. God is real, and He is our loving Heavenly Father.
Funny things that happened this week:
1. Last Pday we went to Forest Park and the beach. While sitting on the beach we drank coconut water out of real coconuts Haha, just for the experience. My cute companion decided she wanted to eat the inside fruit, so she began to savagely smash the coconut on a rock until it cracked open hahaha she was so proud of herself!
2. A rather large typhoon passed by the side of the island. Well on the craziest day we decided it would be a good idea to play ultimate frisbee for exercise time Haha let’s just say that crazy wind and frisbee don’t mix too well Haha
3. On Friday, I get a text from Wang Ma asking if we have time to help her at 5:30. We move some things around and tell her, “Absolutely! What do you need help with, and where do we need to be?” Her response, “At Bishop’s house. I need you to help me get the food from the plate to inside your stomach!” Haha they were so sweet! They fed us my favorite curry and birthday cake! Honestly one of the best birthday’s ever Haha!
4. Our Mission President went out proselytizing with us for a few hours this week. We enter a Seven and he immediately walks up to this lady and goes, “I lived next to you 30-some-odd years ago when I was a missionary here. Now is your time. Would you like to hear a message of happiness?” Haha talk about being bold! She did set up to learn more though, so that’s cool Haha!
5. At the end of this adventure with our Mission President, he decided he wanted to buy us American food for lunch as well as brownie sundaes to celebrate my birthday. Over the amazing food he told me that I will be white-wash opening a new area while training a new missionary next transfer Haha…this should be an adventure!
I hope you all have a great week!
I love you all so so so much!!!