Monday, March 13, 2017

A Perfect Plan of Happiness

Week # 52

You know you're a missionary when you get asked to sing for the 5th time in church in 6 weeks. And the 6th week was Fast Sunday.

That was an adventure though. We only practiced twice and never with our pianist so it consisted of a voice crack from my companion and then me all of a sudden shaking - who knows why - and so neither of us were singing and the Elders just stared at us so no one was singing. They may not ask the Hermanas to sing for a while. . . I'm going to try to keep this email organized, but no promises. I feel like I have so much I want to share with everyone.

This week was long, and good. I was going through my journal and I was so surprised that some of the things that happened this week actually happened this week. They seem so long ago.

There aren't really a lot of events this week. Just a lot of experiences of learning and growing. 

Last Monday I think I mentioned that I was able to go to an Abby just outside of town. It was so peaceful and I wouldn't mind going back again when the weather warms up. The chapel was beautiful and we heard the monks sing. The music nerd came out and I had flashbacks to my music history classes. It was a special experience. There was a part of the Abby where you could see four mountain (I don't remember all of them) including Mount Hood and Mount Saint Helens . . . on a clear day . . . so that means we didn't see them #oregonweather. I'll include some pictures of that experience.

We had an awesome lesson this week on the Plan of Salvation with a semi-new investigator. She is the sister in law of a member in our branch. We were able to testify that her family is learning about the same things in the spirit world. I am grateful that we have the knowledge that God has a perfect plan for us to be happy and that we have that knowledge because of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and the restored Priesthood power. 

Speaking of Priesthood power, we have had a couple of experiences recently that have really helped me better appreciate it. I could never believe that God would be a god of confusion and so just like Him, His house needs to be a house of order. We have the blessing to be directed by Christ in everything that we do and when we follow those directions we receive . . . blessings!

In district meeting this week we had a training on ministering to everyone including and especially your companion and other missionaries. Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. The "others" doesn't just mean investigators. It includes members, other missionaries and your companion. 

I also gave a training in our district meeting on the book "Adjusting to Missionary Life". That book is golden and it is so inspired. It teaches ways to handle the changes and stresses of missionary work. I went through it the other day and highlighted every time that it mentioned prayer as a way to manage stressful situations. 41 times. I think the book is about 30 pages long. It was just such a confirmation to me that prayer is one of the most precious gifts that we are given as children of God. He wants to hear from us so much. 

Speaking of words that are said often, Sister Barnes and I decided that the words "I don't know" came out of our mouths more than any other on our exchange this week. I went into her area in Salem and we talked a lot. And learned a lot. Exchanges are so inspired. The conclusion to not knowing? We aren't always supposed to. That's where faith and trust come into the conversation. When we continue even though we don't know everything, we are showing our trust and I think Heavenly Father sometimes doesn't give us answers because He puts His trust in us. If that makes sense. He trusts us to use what we do know to continue in faith. I feel like that was jumbled, but it makes sense to me. 

My testimony of consecration also grew on my exchange. Sister Barnes is so consecrated to the work. I sometimes get sad/stressed when I leave my area for exchanges. I want to be involved int he lessons and know what is going on. Sister Training Leaders (STLs) leave their areas multiple times each transfer and she was talking about doubling the number so that she can see us more. I pointed out to her that that would take her companionship away from her area for 2 weeks. And she said "So? We need to see the sisters!" She is an example of ministering to missionaries and has so much trust in the Lord to know that if she is fulfilling her calling as an STL then her area will be fine. The Spirit definitely testified to me that I have so much to work on.

I want to end my email talking about testimonies. I've been blessed to hear so many this week. Words carry so much power. We had an investigator come to church yesterday that we haven't even taught an actual lesson to yet. It was so cool. We went by an hour before church and caught him just as he was leaving. He told us that he would see us there and then he came! He also bore his testimony on the Holy Ghost and how he wants to change! I'm so excited to visit him. We have a lesson tonight. I'm so excited to see his understanding and testimony grow as he comes closer to Christ.

I hope my words weren't too jumbled this week.

Les quiero, 

Hermana Lauren Dickson

Sorry for the overload of pictures. They include the Abby visit from last week, a picture from our exchange with the STLs some of the Relief Society in our branch, and the road closed thanks to the rain. It's a pretty regular sight. We had to back track. That's what happens when you try to be cool and take the back roads. 

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