Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Triumphs & Testimony- "He knows us by name"

Week #46

You know you live by train tracks when you wake up from a very nice dream to your windows shaking. Really though. The trains are so loud.

Okay. So. So many things this week. I can't write about most of them, but when I get home, ask me about my journal entries from January 23-29. The good thing is that I think that I have laughed more this week than any other on my mission. So they aren't all bad things, I promise.

I cried this morning. Sitting curbside with my laundry basket and I cried. I locked us out of our apartment. And our car. An hour and a half before our apartment manager gets here. Usually it's because I miss Forest Grove. This time it's because I'm freezing cold and it smells like weed. 

I hit an opossum on Tuesday. It was huge. Fat. Easily 2 and a half feet long and then the tail. It decided to stop right in front of our car. We were driving back from dinner in the dark on the highway so even though I slammed on my brakes we went right over it. Our TiWi told me that I was driving aggressively. Not because I slammed on my brakes, but because we went over the opossum. That was a fun phone call to Elder Burke in the mission office. Just another thing for people to laugh at me for. Hermana Jensen and I found out we scream like men though. When we hit the opossum we both yelled awkwardly low - so like men. :) You learn something new every day.

I'm trying to remember what else happened this week. Honestly I just have a song running through my head from this weekend. "La Vaca! La Vaca!" It's literally just a song about a cow. We had a branch party this weekend to celebrate eight years as a branch. As always that includes food and a DJ. We are so white. We tried though. some members tried to help us dance. specifically Hna Torres. She kept getting mad at me because I was so bad, but honestly I just laughed the whole time. It's really funny to see some videos of us dancing next to the natives #americanos. It was really neat though. The branch president has pictures of everyone who has gone to the temple in those eight years. IT was a good reminder that the goal isn't baptism. The goal is the temple. For families to be sealed for eternity. Baptism is such an important covenant, but it isn't the end. There are more promises that we can make and more blessings that our Heavenly Father wants us to have. I can't imagine not having the blessing of a temple sealing for my future children.

This week we have had to do more dropping people so at this point there isn't anyone really progressing. We do have some young investigators who are going to start teaching us the lessons. They aren't able to be baptized yet so this is a way to continue learning and growing their testimonies. Today at church they asked us if they have to wear skirts like we do . . . one of them is a boy. . . It's going to be really fun. I am excited.

We also had a worldwide broadcast this week for all of the missionaries. It was like a mini general conference (aka Christmas for missionaries). We were trained on the basics and how to remember to keep our lessons simple, but powerful. The most powerful part for me personally was the opening prayer. It was given by Elder David A. Bednar, a living apostle. I think that was the first time that I have heard a prayer from an apostle. I've heard apostles and prophets address people at conferences and meetings, but I've never heard an apostle address our Heavenly Father. It was a very special experience for me. It was just another witness to me that we are all children of our Heavenly Father and He wants to hear from all of us.

He really does want to hear from all of us. He knows us by name and knows our needs. We have talked a lot about prayer this week. Multiple members and investigators have shared their testimonies with us about experiences that they have had as they talk with their Heavenly Father.

Heavenly Father has been working on me very hard these last few weeks. I honestly don't want to share this, but for some reason He wants me to. So I'm going to. I was really struggling in my last area. More than anyone there or at home knows. I tried to explain it to a few people and they wanted to help, but they couldn't fully understand and I didn't know how to help myself let alone how others could help me. Depression is not foreign  to me. The Spirit warned me before my mission that it is something that I would again struggle with, even as a missionary. I've been trying really hard to keep it out of my emails. That helps me - to try to focus on the good.

This is the greatest work. This work brings the most joy. I know that. In the First Presidency message to missionaries in Preach My Gospel they promise us that "more happiness awaits [us] than [we] have ever experienced as [we] labor among His children". I have come to really depend on that promise. I have come to really, truly understand what it is like to depend on Christ. So when I say that no one in Forest Grove or at home could really understand, that's okay. I have a Heavenly Father who always understands and a Savior who felt the same things that I feel. It's easy to feel a little lonely when I re-read that promise in Preach My Gospel countless times, hoping to feel that joy and to not have it come, but my Heavenly Father knows that loneliness that I feel brings me closer to Him. Maybe I need to experience loneliness to be able to feel and appreciate the happiness that will come. Heavenly Father knew how long I needed to be in Forest Grove. He also knew when I needed to leave. I honestly felt a physical relief when we got transfer calls. Not because I wanted to leave, but because the Spirit confirmed to me that I needed to; so that I could feel the promised happiness. I'm doing so much better here. I miss the people so much in Forest Grove though. P-days are hard because it's easier to miss them when I'm not busy working, but I know that I need to be here.

I feel like at this point I am just rambling, but my point is that He knows us and He listens to us when we pray. My mission has brought me to my knees more than ever before and I know that He is listening. He doesn't hear Elder Bednar's prayers any louder than mine. We can't understand how He does it, but He hears and knows us as individuals. My testimony is so far from perfect, but it's growing.

My blog is named "The Salem Missionary Triumphs" right? (I'm honestly am not sure because of 'mission brain') I think being able to share this is a small triumph for me honestly. I'm focusing on the little triumphs, the tender mercies.

One of my tender mercies this week is our knew "Jesus wall". I decided that we needed more of Christ in our apartment. I've spent most of my lunch times and night times the last few days going through magazines and making a "Jesus wall". It's something so little, but it's already made a difference. A little triumph.

Los quiero,

Hermana Dickson

Newly decorated apartment wall

Locked out of the apartment and car

"White" Hermanas - dancing? Trying anyway.

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