Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 7: "Continuous Progression"

Hello everyone! I hope you all had the best week ever. It has been soooo cold in Fort Collins and this week was a difficult one, but I feel like I have really grown so much in the past seven days it's insane(: One thing I have learned is that the Lord is refining us for a special purpose every single day. He knows how wonderful we can be, He sees that eternal potential that we have. Any challenges that arrive in our lives are for a reason, and they can grow us and strengthen us in ways that we didn't even know were possible. We just have to approach our struggles with the Lord as our ally, and we will be able to make it through and be better than before once we have overcome them.
- Last Monday, we went on the most beautiful hike with one of our best friends in the ward named Kat. It was freezing but so worth it. I feel so blessed to be serving somewhere so beautiful and I'm so thankful for all of God's creations and the Spirit that I can feel when I'm just out in nature.
- On Tuesday, we had exchanges. I was with Sister Pincock, and she was so sweet. We had a lesson with one of our investigators named J____. We taught her and her member friend Nory the Restoration lesson, and at the end of it the Spirit prompted me to invite her to be baptized. I did and she said yes! It was such an amazing experience and I'm so excited for her. I'm so thankful that God gave me the confidence I needed to invite her, because I know I couldn't have done it by myself.
- Wednesday was a rough day. We got cancelled on by almost everyone that we had appointments with, our car wasn't working, etc. We made the best of it and luckily we were able to stay positive and really feel the Spirit in the lessons that we did have.
- Thursday was one of the best days out here so far. We had our Mission Tour that day and Elder Baxter of the Seventy and his wife came and spoke to us. It was honestly one of the most powerful answers to prayer that I have ever gotten. I have been praying and praying to be able to be more bold, especially when I see people on the street. I have been praying to learn how to be one of those missionaries who can just go up and testify to anyone and everyone. I'm going to share some of the answers and inspiration I got through the Spirit. Sister Baxter said at one point, "Do not be afraid of anything, and have the confidence that you can do anything. The Holy Ghost gives you that confidence,". Then Elder Baxter was speaking and said, "We can have testimonies that are bright and true, we can look people in the eye, pour out our heart, and introduce the feeling of the Spirit. We can bring a feeling of sheer goodness into people's lives simply by sharing our happiness with them. This time is about laying our all out for the Lord,". They then had a return missionary speak to us. He said that his goal was not to be a mediocre missionary. We are all inadequate. The difference between inadequacy and mediocrity is in our effort. When we are actively inviting others to come unto Christ, we are fulfilling our purpose. Elder Baxter then closed and said, "Missionary work success isn't measured by the number of baptisms on a chart, it is measured by how it changes you and makes you a better and everlasting disciple of Christ. How it effects you 6 months, 10 years, and 60 years from now. Your mission shouldn't be the best 18 months of your life. It should be the beginning of the best years of your life. You are being changed, and therefore, you will change the world. Know this that every soul is free, to choose this day what he will be. Christ is infinitely patient with us, and we need to be patient with ourselves,". There were so many amazing things. My favorite thing that he said the entire day was, "For things to change, I have to change. For things to get better, I have to get better,". That's when I realized that if I want to be more bold, I have to change. I have to set goals to become more bold. So that night, I told Sis. Metzger we should walk to dinner, and on the way we each have to hand out one Book of Mormon and bear our testimony to someone on the street. We were both able to do it! I felt this overwhelming happiness afterwards, and it wasn't scary or weird. It was great to share the gospel with a complete stranger.
- District meeting on Friday was awesome. Elder Sondrup talked about what we felt like the Holy Ghost invited us to do after hearing what Elder Baxter had to say. He gave us time to think about it and then helped us write up goals in order to follow through on those invitations of the Spirit. When the Spirit prompts us to do something, do we take it seriously? I know there are sometimes I feel prompted and I'm like yeah that's a good idea, I'll write that down and do it later. And then it never gets done and I miss out on an opportunity to share God's love and bless someone else. I now have a goal of giving out two copies of the Book of Mormon every single day and bearing testimony of God's love when I do. I've been able to do it for the past few days. There have been times that Sister Metzger and I have walked up and down the streets of Old Towne for a couple of hours in the 8 degree weather until we find people who will accept what we have to say. We pray every time before we go do street contacting, and I know that the Lord helps us find those who need His word in their lives. The other day, one of the men I approached told me that he was Agnostic but that he was searching for religion. He was studying Islam but didn't like certain aspects of it. I was able to bear a bold testimony of The Book of Mormon and of the power of prayer in helping us find the answers our hearts are searching for. He agreed to read  and pray about it and it was such a testament to me that God really is preparing so many people that we pass by on the street every single day. We just have to develop the courage and the strength to share our happiness.
- Saturday was a really eye opening day. I've realized that being a missionary in the YSA means also dealing with a lot of the drama in the YSA. My patience was definitely being tested and I was having some negative thoughts about others. I was praying that during personal study, I would have some personal revelation on how to handle things. I was reading in Jacob about 15 minutes later and what do you know, it's the chapter about how the Nephites are judging the Lamanites for being wicked, and in doing so they are just as wicked because they are breaking the second great commandment (love your neighbor) among some other things. It made me realize that we have to genuinely love people, no matter what, because we have to see people the way God does in order to have His Spirit to be with us. It really helped me develop a new sense of patience and understanding for people, and it's a moment I won't ever forget.
- Church was great yesterday. We had an amazing Ward Conference and the Spirit was so strong. We had a lesson with our investigator K____ and she said the sweetest thing. We asked her if her friends were going to come to Colorado for her baptism on the 6th and she said, "Honestly I don't really care, I just want to make sure that you two are there,". My heart pretty much melted(: I just love her so much and I'm so glad that God allowed me to be a part of her journey to grow closer to Him.
So, basically this week was me learning how to be a better disciple of Christ in every way possible. A quote that I really love is, "Don't let your mission change you, because then when you go home you'll go back to being the same way you were before. Let the Atonement change you, because then you will be changed forever,". As I am learning to apply the Atonement more and more in my every day life, as I am repenting and praying for more charity and more love and more patience, as I am actively seeking after the blessings and lessons that God has for me, I am becoming better. I am changing. I am progressing. And I know that God has a plan of happiness specifically designed for me, that I can fulfill as I continue to grow through Him and trust in Him. I know that He has a plan for each of you, and that if you will pray to Him every day sincerely, He will help guide you to the people and the places that you need in order to be the best disciple you can be. I love you all and hope you have a great week!!
Love, Sister Allen