Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013 - "I will not forget thee..."

Hola, Como Estan? Como le va con ustedes?
How is everything? Are you all staying cool? I hear that it's been quite a scorcher there in Utah? It's been ridiculously hot here in Seattle, too. Unusually so for June, and guess what? Since they usually only have a few semi-summer days, no one has air conditioning. It's good practice for Argentina though.
I have so much to say about this week. First of all, it was one of the most "growth-promoting" weeks of my mission thus far.
On Wednesday I had one of the hardest days. I woke up and during the day just did not feel like myself. My drive was kind of lacking, and I just didn't have my usual desire to do things. Then came time for studies, and as I knelt down to pray, I had no desire, and the words wouldn't come. The longer I sat there, the more my thoughts spun out of control, and it was literally like I COULD NOT pray, or breathe.
Needless to say, the morning did not go well. Then it came time for companionship study, and Hermana Cooley could tell that something was up, this was so not like me. 
I told her how I was feeling, and she told me that she had been feeling frustrated, too. The main thing was we just hadn't had a whole lot of luck finding people to teach. The area is so spread out, and people literally "laugh us to scorn" when we tell them we're looking for Spanish people in this area. 
It's hard to go day in and day out wondering what purpose it is that you're supposed to be fulfilling. It's not that I don't have faith in the Lord's plan, but I'll be honest, my thoughts began to wander. Why am I here in May Valley, WA instead of Argentina? Why are Hermana Cooley and I, brand new missionaries, whitewashed into an area, called to speak Spanish, with no Spanish people. President Larkin basically told us this week that he "Had to get us back in the Seattle mission, and since we're both visa waiters, put us together and put us in May Valley." "I know there aren't a lot of Spanish opportunities," he said "But keep looking." Here we go back to my lack of faith moment. When your key-holder tells you that, it's a little hard not to wonder about the purpose of it all. On top of that, when we got assigned to May Valley, people kept saying "OH, that's ZION!" "You're so lucky!" And to be honest, this week, we just couldn't see it. 
So we came together and prayed, and then felt like we needed to read D&C 100. 
in v. 1-2 "Your family is well, they are in mine hands... in me there is all power" "follow me..."
v.3: "...I have much people in this place...and an effectual door shall be opened..."
v.4: "Therefore, I the Lord, have suffered you to come into this placefor thus it is expedient in me for the salvation of souls." (I am exactly where I need to be.)
v.5: "lift up your voices...speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men." (Just speak, to everyone. lift up your voice, testify, face your fears, get over what you think is "the way" to do the work)
v.6: " shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment what ye shall say."
v.8: "and I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say."
v.9: "and it is expedient in me that you, my servant [Courtney], should be a spokesman unto this people; yea, verily, I will ordain you unto this calling.
v. 12: "Therefore, continue in your journey and let your heart rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end."
v. 13: "Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season..."
v. 15: "Therefore, let your hearts be comfortedfor all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly..."

Once again we were reminded of the perfection in the plan of the Lord and how he knows exactly what he's doing. There is always a wise purpose. I'm not just thrown somewhere to suffer. Right after that I opened to 1 Nephi 21: 14-15
"Behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me- but he will show that he hath not."
"I will not forget thee...behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands..."
I read the talk by Elder Holland this week about The Atonement and Missionary Work. I was once again completely overwhelmed by the love that the Savior has for me so individually and for every one of his children, wherever in the world they may be. Salvation isn't easy, and as such, this work isn't easy. My heart breaks at the thought of so many of God's children rejecting a message that could bring them greater glory than they can even imagine. Every day as we talk with and teach the people, in all their walks of life, I have this great love for them. And I am amazed at how quickly it comes sometimes, some are easier than others, but I've formed relationships of trust, love, and genuine concern with the most unlikely looking people.
I've realized this week more than ever how much I need my Savior to show me how to do this work. Sometimes he brings us down to the lowest of the low to lift us, his way, not by means of our own strength or merit.
As I was sitting talking with Hermana Cooley, I was reminded of a letter that dad sent me a couple weeks ago with a quote from C.S. Lewis:
"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that these jobs needed doing, and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of- throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself."
I am FAR from being a palace. But God is the architect, and a lot of times HIS plans don't, and won't, make sense to our very human minds. But I made a promise to be the missionary He wants. And more often than not that means walking by faith rather than sight.
I love this work, and I'm grateful for weeks like this that allow me, in the smallest of ways, to feel somewhat of what the Savior feels for his children, and to be able to understand that I am never alone, never forgotten, and that these moments are just that...moments.
I love you all, and hope that you have a good week.
Les Quiero, muchisimo.
xoxo Your Hermana Courtney

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