This week felt SOOOO long. But it could have possibly been one of the most influential weeks on my mission so far!
It started out with an exchange with the District Leader Elder Woodard, a great missionary and it gave me a great opportunity to take the lead a little bit more and things went great! We prepared a little 8 year old girl to be baptized her dad was baptized recently, but she is adorable! Violet is her name! The rest of that split was great I felt good but as the week went on it progressively got worse.
We met with a man who is married to a ward missionary in our ward! Great people but we were tired of going over there and just talking, we are called to bring them closer to christ by the RESTORED GOSPEL not by chit chat. So we talked about the book of mormon and used Elder Hollands talk "Safety For the Soul" woah... his heart was HARDENED! major. I could feel the spirit inside me saying that he was not ready, not open and that i would need to hold strong to the things i knew to be true... but... i didn't. I sat there slumped over in my seat, looked at Elder Holland and instead of enjoying his steadfast, concrete immovable testimony, I cowered and when it was time to talk I gave a weak wavering testimony... For the rest of the week I felt disappointed in myself but I never questioned what i knew to be true. I believed so strongly... but... i felt like Elder Hollands talk: "Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief". It was so dificult, my fire for the work had diminished and was being pushed out of my heart and replaced with skeptic thoughts :/. I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. And finally i realized if I just look at this with a positive mind, seeing that the lord allows us to go through trials in order to teach us necessary lessons, and those whom he loves he rebukes and chastens! So i began to press forward in confidence. Continuing to pray and search for reconfirmation, revelation and love from my savior.
He spoke to me as I studied for specific lessons we had, (the revelation was about the priesthood and the power and authority that comes btw) so I knew I had not denied him to the point he would not speak to me. But as I prayed thursday evening I received a prompting to ask a blessing from Elder Langi (we're staying together another transfer btw ;) and I knew that saturday we would be baptizing the browns too! So I finally realized what the lord was teaching me, he was strenghtening my testimony of the priesthood, as well as how to push through and take full advantage of trials.
SO! From that revelation on, I could be HAPPY! Still holding on to that revelation and praying in my heart whenever I got the chance! and then saturday morning, Elder Langi and I both dressed in our whites for the baptism exercised the priesthood we hold. The words I spoke flowed so powerfully and he expressed some special things from what I said and when he spoke he answered my prayers! The Lord spoke to me! and I felt a rush of restoration within my own heart! Elder Langi on top of that has given me so many inspiring words about me and my life and all of it brought me out of this! I feel so grateful for the spirit through him and the revelation I received and I experienced such peace of the spirit!! I know that its true, I know the spirit converts!! The spirit that was sooooo strong and present during the baptism! I got to baptize Zaryiah and Sis Brown and langi baptized violet! I'll send pics asap! :) and in sacrament meeting yesterday we gave them the holy ghost it was incredible, Zaryiah the 9 year old after her blessing (by me! i was so lucky) stood up and walked away and we were whispering "hey come back" so we could shake her hand, but as she got further away she began to wipe her eyes! She was crying! I knew she felt it! After church our ward mission leader and his wife came to their house and expressed their love and they talked about how the relief society was helping her in so many ways... I almost began crying there because I just knew we had done our job and now the ward could show their love and help these new saints:) I love this work and being here in Tampa more than anything. The area is sooooo beautiful. we had a picnic RIGHT next to the beach and around 7 it began to cool down and there was a breeze and AHHH i fell in love with the poeple, the work and the place! I love it. and I will do ALLLLL I can to take advantage of the time I have to do this work!
I invite anyone who feels the weight of the world, even in your own mind, even if your feelings just weigh you down, you doubt yourself, you just feel like you aren't as strong as you should be or would like to be?? JUST KNOW THE LORD IS ABOUT TO TEACH YOU SOMETHING WONDERFUL! And he will. And he will bless you for it!
Mom you too! Whenever you feel the depression hit just know that he is about to teach you something wonderful, your spirit may feel weak, only so you'll be vulnurable to the promptings and teachings! PRESS ON WITH FAITH! HE loves us way to much not to trust that he will always try to teach us! I love you mom! SO MUCH!
Be not afraid;Only Believe