Here is this week's letter from our cute missionary! :)
Just Keep Swimming! MTC Week 4 (?)
"Just keep swimming!" That has been the motto for the week. This week has been a good one but a tough one. It's a good thing I've been learning so much about trusting the Lord and having patience in His timing because I definitely needed that reminder during this week. I got sick on Friday and it made for a rough weekend. Getting sick in the MTC is the worst. Alma 36:3 is a fantastic verse for anyway having a bad week, it's one of those "insert your name here" verses.
I've been reading a talk thingy by Elder Lawrence(?) called The Fourth Missionary. It talks about how we can be so much more in this life if we give our will to the Lord's. One of my favorite lines from it says, "You will create of you only a smudge. You will create an ordinary man. HE will create a God." On Tuesday in the choir, we sang, "Be Still, My Soul" (It's ironic how much this song has been the theme song for my mission thus far) We sang it in a way that I have never heard of and the choir director told us a little bit of the meaning behind it. This song is literally a fight that someone is having within themselves between their natural man self and their divine self, the self that God sees in us. The divine self is telling the "chicken self", the natural man, self to sit down and stop getting in the way of the things that God needs you to accomplish! "The Lord is on thy side!" is what we have to constantly remind ourselves. Don't let anything shake your confidence and your hope that you have in the Lord. When it all comes down to it, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never leaves us. He ALWAYS loves us. We are always the ones that move away from Him, that leave Him or forget Him. Tell your "chicken soul" to sit down and shut up more often and you might get more done!
I honestly don't have very much to share today, other than God really does put us with people that He knows will lift us up, but will also push us to become our very best. My district is really incredible. I'm so blessed to be among spiritual giants like them. One of the Elder's in my district was part of a religious singing group called Beyond 5. His name is Elder Love. I've never heard of them (sorry Elder Love) but apparently they are quite big, He has sisters stopping him and asking him for his picture all the time. The other Elder in my branch is named Elder Peterson. He is so sweet and has such a genuine love for those around him, He also makes the most hilarious reaction faces to things that our teachers/zone says about Asia. The sisters in my district are Sister Curtis, Sister Wilcox, Sister Ng, Sister Leonard, Sister Shiffert and Sister McNeely. Sister Curtis is from California makes me laugh so hard I go into coughing fits. Sister Wilcox and Sister Ng are the peaceful companionship that keeps the rest of us rowdy folk from getting too out of hand. They have really warm and genuine spirits and I describe them with each other because they really are a unite, they work really well together. Sister Leonard is, of course, awesome! We knew each other before the mission so it's been entertaining to spend time with her again. Sister Shiffert cracks me up. She uses food names as exclamations, rather than other words, so I constantly get to hear "Crackers!" or "Fudge" or other words. She has a love of learning this gospel and its been so fun learning from her testimony. Sister McNeely is my other still small voice. She keeps me grounded and tries to keep my "butterfly" brain from flying too far away from what we are supposed to be doing. She plays the violin (and is fantastic at it!) and has a very strong love for our Savior. I learn so much from her. Anyway, that's the district and I truly am blessed to have them,
On Sunday, I studied a lot about Baptism and the Holy Ghost. I came across a talk called "Retaining a Remission of Sin" from October 2000 general conference. It talks about the promises we made to Heavenly Father and the things that He promised us in return when we fulfill our promises (we DEFINITELY get the better side of the deal). Elder Crockett quotes Mosiah 4:11 and talks about the "formula" King Benjamin gives his people on how to retain the remission of their sins. 1. We need to remain humble. God gave us everything we have. Everything we have and everything we are is from Him. 2. We need to "Call upon the Lord daily". Prayer is one of the best gifts God gave us. It's a direct line to Him. USE IT! 3. Stand steadfastly in faith. I think it was Elder Uchtdorf (?) that said something about not JUST enduring this life, we need to go about this life with joy and with peace in our hearts and patience through our trials. When we do these three things, we are fulfilling our side of the covenant we made with God because we are remembering Christ in our lives, We will gain stronger testimonies that will make us want to open our mouths and share what we know. And we will be repenting and constantly striving to distance ourselves from sin. Ask God for help. That's why He gave us the Holy Ghost. That's why He gave us prayer. He promised He wouldn't leave us alone. We just need to follow His plan for us instead of thinking our plan is somehow better than His.
Anyway, sorry for the heavy stuff. I love you all so much and I hope you have a fantastic week!