Monday, May 29, 2017

It is Hard, but it's Supposed to Be

Week #63

You know you are a missionary speaking Spanish when your companion throws out a peace sign to a member and says "Paz out" on accident.

This week . . .Well. I don't know.

I was complaining about losing my tan in this Oregon cloudiness and then Heavenly Father gave me a companion from Hawaii. I will forever be pasty white. I truly believe that Heavenly Father has a sense of humor.

We studied outside in a park and it was wonderful! The weather is beautiful and I forgot how much I miss the sun. We were so pumped after our studies and had more energy for the rest of the day.

A lot of things happened this week. To list a few: fire truck at the church, zip-lining and I think at this point in my mission I have now had 15 people tell me that I have a parasite. It's been eventful.

We have had a lot of opportunities to teach the first lesson about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We invited two more people to be baptized and they said yes! I am so happy to be here though I am still unfamiliar with the city and people. There is so much power in our message. It's unique. We believe in God and we believe that He loves all of His children. Because of that, we know that we have a living prophet. I get so excited to share it! It's something that I know to be true.

We taught a woman that we met this week and it was a really spirit filled lesson, but we ended the lesson and she told us that she wasn't interested in learning more. During the lesson I kept thinking, "she's so receptive! She understands! She's going to be a new mom and this will help her so much", but she told us that she doesn't need us to come back. I felt a little disappointment, but the spirit confirmed to me that there was nothing more that we could have said. If nothing else, we know that she had a positive experience with missionaries this week and one day missionaries will knock on her door again and maybe then she will be ready and feel the need to listen.

I don't get discouraged by people who aren't interested. It makes me sad, but we are called to teach those who will receive us, not those who won't. We can't teach everyone because we aren't meant to teach everyone. We are called to teach those who will receive us.

Part of the reason I don't get discouraged is because I LOVE MY COMPANION!! I need her right now. When I start to get too discouraged she whips out a scripture like Nephi whips out Isaiah and pumps me back up!

We are seeing so many miracles and having so much fun (being obedient to our mission president's instruction). Yesterday we were debating whether we should make our voicemail message a knock knock joke, or sing our names to the tune of "Called to Serve". We'll let you know what the final verdict is.

Something I love about my companion is that she is bold. I saw that yesterday when we knocked on a door of a referral. A man answered and didn't let us talk. I don't really remember everything that he was saying, but what I do remember is that Hermana Tanuvasa raised her hand in the air to stop him and said "We are called of God to preach His Gospel. We may be young and not have your age (aka she called him old ha ha), but we have the authority to preach and we know what we share is true". He wasn't interested, but again, I did not feel any disappointment. What I felt was that I am in good hands with a true minister of Christ by my side.

We have seen the power of the Book of Mormon this week. We have put a bigger emphasis on using the scriptures to teach and have had a lot of neat experiences. We went by our investigators' houses on Saturday and they all said something like, "I'm so tired, but I was reading the book" or "look, I was just reading about the Celestial kingdom". The greatest joy is seeing a Book of Mormon on the couch because they were just reading. We decided to read the Book of Mormon together this transfer so that we have moral authority and it is going well! I love the scriptures.

I distinctly remember something that my Branch President in the MTC told me. He said, "Missions are not hard. This is easy, don't trick yourself into thinking that it's hard". I still don't know why he said that. My mission has been hard. I've never been so exhausted physically and spiritually. I've never ached for others as much as I have this past year. I've always cried easily, but my tears before were for myself and for my own trials. I've never cried so many tears for others. This is hard. But I've realized that I haven't really sacrificed anything.

It's often emphasized the "sacrifices" of missionaries. We leave our families yes, but they are still there. We see them after a short time and now we love them more. We leave school yes, but gain more knowledge than a few semesters of university would give us. We leave our worldly possessions and desires yes, but again, they are still there when we get home and we learn to prioritize and those things don't matter much to us anymore anyway. We don't really sacrifice anything. Everything we have is already His and to think that anything we give Him is a sacrifice, means that we don't understand what we have covenanted to do in this life. I think personally, I titled them "sacrifices" at the beginning of my mission because I wanted to feel accomplished.

With the help of my trials and my Savior I have accomplished a lot. I don't think that is prideful to say. I've grown, but not because I sacrificed anything more than my will. For that is truly the only thing that we can give Him. It's the only thing He wants.

But it is so hard. I am stubborn. I am sometimes hard hearted. Every time I read in first Nephi I characterize so well with Laman and Lemuel. They felt that there were many "hard things required" of them, "things hard to understand". I am so weak and forget to remember the angels and miracles I have indeed seen. It is hard, but it is supposed to be.

The words of my first mission president, President Samuelian, have been on my mind frequently. He was staring at me as I cried tears for myself. He said, "It's not easy is it? Well, it's not supposed to be". He then turned towards the camera and smiled for one last picture before I walked away baffled, still crying tears for me.

So it's hard, but we enjoy it. It seems like those words shouldn't be together in one sentence, but it's true. Vale la pena. All of it. Struggles help us depend on Christ, whose name might as well be Joy, for it is in Him that we find joy. Don't we sing that every year? "Joy to the world, the Lord is come!"

I don't think that I have anymore jumbled words to share this week.
Sometimes my emails are more for myself than for others.

Les quiero,
Hermana Dickson

Pictures include the firetruck, me doing some family history and some of the other sisters who serve near where we are serving.

Central America is located in the Middle East right? . . . (A cryptic sentence that obviously is an inside joke as her companion's email stated the same . . . explanation to come maybe?)

Reflection of the firetruck. . . unobtrusive attempt at picture taking? Hma Dickson's reflection too.

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