This has been such an eventful week! So many things happened, I don't even know where to start. It's been pretty good and pretty fun. This week has been an adventure for my companion, Sister Dixon, as she is trying to navigate missionary life out in the field. But it's been good and we've had some good experiences.
We started a Come, Follow Me class in the ward, kinda arranged like a bible study. We have a few people who aren't entirely sure how to do it and we thought it would be good to make a group to study it together and help everyone out and have them help each other. Only 2 people came on Monday, and they were married. No one came Tuesday. But that's okay. We'll figure it out! It’ll take time to grow and develop.
We went to the Humane Society a couple times this week for service. It's an animal shelter where we go and help out. Mostly walking dogs. It's so interesting how much I have learned about pets and animals since I've been on my mission. I would say im m a pro at this point! Just kidding, but I do know quite a bit more than I used to. Sister Dixon has a hard time when we walk the big dogs, because she only has her small dog at home and really isn't into bigger dogs. What a great learning opportunity for her! There are always lots of dog experiences when you are on a mission.
We had a couple finding opportunities this week. One went pretty well. The other......not so much. It was honestly the worst experience I have ever had with tracting. The first door we went to, we knocked on the door and we saw this lady got up from her chair. She walks over and looks through the window to see who it is. I see her look down at our badges and is reading them. She then walks away, back to her living room, and sits back down. The rest of the houses were not that much better.
Zone conference was this week and it was so amazing! We had Elder McKay come, who is a member of the seventy. He actually spoke in last general conference on the Immediate Goodness of God. It was one of my favorites and I was so excited to have him come. He talked a lot about the power we have teaching with the Spirit and using the Book of Mormon and why it is so important. He told us we were all cheaters because we had the best mission president and in the best mission. One of my favorite things he talked about was how important it was to learn the spiritual language. It is the most important language you can ever learn in your life. Even when we think we are doing pretty good, we can always learn, grow, and improve. This life is all about progression and learning and we need to make sure that we listen to what the Spirit has to tell us as far as being willing to learn in our life.
We got to meet with Lois this week, which is honestly one of my favorite parts of the week. It's kind of exciting because for the longest time she has had some objections based on baptism, mainly based on some fear, as she is afraid of water, I felt prompted to try and bring it up with her again. So we read 2 Nephi 31 and she seemed pretty open to it. It is something she has now been thinking of for awhile and will be thinking about it even more, so we are going to get her on the path to be able to commit to it. It may be a little bumpy, but I know it will all work out. I’m so excited for her and I just want her to be able to receive all the blessings that come from the small sacrifices we make for our Heavenly Father.
We also went and saw this certain family that was referred to us by the New York missionaries. The family moved here from there and is interested in learning. We were finally able to get in contact with them this week and give them a Book of Mormon. The hard part about the whole scenario is that they only speak Mandarin, except the son who can translate some, but it's still rocky. We are trying to get a translator, but our worries are about that is we don't know what is being said when we translate and how well gospel terms are being translated. It's been pretty awkward each time we go over and we don't really know what is the solution for it. But hopefully we can figure something out!
Saturday was interesting. One of the office missionaries who are in charge of service asked if we wanted to help out at a 10k in Springfield that was at 6am-9am. We said sure! So we got up at 5am to go help out at the race. It really was a lot of fun. We got to direct the runners and cheer them on and it was great to be able to encourage those people who were trying so hard and just wanted to do their best. But we were so tired afterwards! I’m grateful we did it, though.
One of the biggest things I have learned this week is how we approach the challenges Heavenly Father gives us. Life happens and we can go through some really tough stuff sometimes and it can be hard to know what to do when that happens. Most of the time we wonder why it is happening and how long we will have to endure it. We may constantly pray for deliverance from our current struggles. Which is okay! However, we must also learn how we should react to their circumstances. One of my favorite stories, well technically two, is in the Book of Mormon with the people of Limhi and the people of Alma. Both of them had been captured by the Lamanites and were bearing heavy loads and enduring a lot of pain. It was a hard time for both of them and both would continue to pray for deliverance. However, there is a difference on both reacted to their situations. The people of Limhi prayed that their burdens would be eased and that the Lamanites hearts would be softened. The Lord answered their prayers and their trials were less difficult, but they still endured challenges, but were eventually delivered. The people of Alma prayed that they would be strengthened to be able to bear their burdens. The Lord answered their prayers to where they could no longer feel the pain upon their backs, but they also still endured challenged and were eventually delivered. What we can learn from this is that when we come face to face with our trials in life, do we ask for it to be softened or do we ask for strength? I firmly believe that everything in life happens for a reason, and most times, our trials are sent so we can learn and grow from them and become stronger in this life and the next. The Lord will answer for whatever we ask for, but if we are willing, He will make us stronger in the hard times of our lives.
This is something that even I am still working on. It is hard to want to be stronger from our challenges and to be willing to bear them as long as the Lord will have us bear them. But I do know that we can always rely on the Lord for strength and that we can get through anything that He asks us to do. “For I know the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” I would invite you all to try and ask for strength rather than relief from your challenges, and I will work on it with you, and try on rely on the Lord for strength and to become better from your challenges. I know it will infinitely bless your lives and you will feel yourself become closer to your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I love and pray for all of you and hope that you are doing well and are able to get through the hard things that Heavenly Father may send our way.
With all my love,
Sister Savannah Johanson
Sister Savannah Johanson