Companion: Sister Riley Powell
I have officially been transferred away from Georgetown. It will forever own a piece of my heart, but I know that this is where I need to be. I am back in San Antonio covering two wards again. Valley Hi and Heritage. Interestingly enough I came to Valley Hi on an exchange in my second transfer when I was still in training. It is completely different than where I just came from. I have grown to love the Austin area, but I'm growing to love it here too. The moment I got here, it was reminded me of Converse, my first area. My new companion is Sister Riley Powell, and we are both serving as sister training leaders.
We live with some other sisters. Sister Smith, who I lived with before in Converse, and her companion Sister Martin. :)
This week has been wonderful. I love sharing the gospel, and I love telling people about the Book of Mormon! The Book of Mormon is the tool by which Israel is being gathered. While Sister Powell and I were in a smaller neighborhood we came across a man who has Christian roots and is very firm in where he stands. As we shared with him the Book of Mormon my heart sang with joy at declaring these glad tidings. This son of God had the opportunity to accept one of the most precious gifts from our Heavenly Father, another testament of his son Jesus Christ, untainted by the apostasy. He did not accept the Book, nor the invitation to learn more. But someday he may. I LOVE testifying of the restored gospel and of Jesus Christ. It doesn't phase me in the slightest when one chooses to reject the offer. Yes, it does make me sad to know what they are truly rejecting, but my love for God and for his work overpowers any hint of discouragement. I know that our divine commission is to find those who are prepared.
Gathering of Israel
The Lord is gathering his elect from the four corners of the Earth. I know that to be true as I have seen some of his most elect come into the waters of baptism and change their lives.
I have seen it in more subtle ways. Such as 20 copies of the Book of Mormon lasting us for six weeks when we must have passed out 4 a day. I have seen it in the eyes of a child as their perspective of Heavenly Father changes. Others may not have come all the way, but their lives were touched in one way or another. I've seen it in the growth and change of my companions and the things we learn together.
I loved meeting the people in the wards we're serving. I've learned that it is silly to sit back and wait for people to come get to know us. It is much more proactive to get up and go get to know them. I will forever live by that. I will not wait to be acted upon, I will act. "And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil... Wherefore, the Lord gave unto man that he should act for himself..." (2 Nephi 2:5, 16) There are wonderful people here whom I feel privileged to serve and work in harmony with. The work of salvation is for all of us. Members are missionaries too.
In our mission we do mission studies. Meaning that occasionally President Slaughter asks us to study a particular set of scriptures, or a particular subject. He'll usually give a time frame, and ask questions throughout. It is always very enlightening. Our most recent mission study has been on the "For the strength of Youth" pamphlet. He invited us to highlight words that refer to agency and to notice the emphasis the brethren place in standing alone. I really gained a lot out of this study. Here are some thoughts I have had:
"Though the world is getting more and more tumultuous with the adversary working in the hearts of man, righteousness is growing. The light of the gospel of Jesus Christ is stronger than it has ever been. Members of the church will cease holding the iron rod, preferring the great and spacious building, and allowing themselves to be blinded by the philosophies of men. But Jesus Christ's Church is perfect and will never fall. The priesthood will never be taken from the Earth again.
How will we be an influence for good not just in the world, but within the church? It begins with the strength of youth. As children of the covenant we have a divine and sacred responsibility to assist in gathering lost Israel. We were chosen before the world began to be members of Christ's church and to spread the gospel to the world. The Lord has great trust in the youth and often calls upon them to carry out his great work.
If I had understood this when I was a teenager I would have looked at myself, others, and the world much differently. I'm grateful for parents and leaders who helped me learn who I am. We have a responsibility to help the youth see their divine nature. Many of them do not understand who they are as covenant Israel. They are learning and trying to grow in a complex world. One way that we can be an influence for good within the church is by teaching the youth that they are noble and great. We must show them through example how to gain a testimony for themselves. Through this study, my vision of the youth of Zion has changed. I know who I am. I can see the divine nature of who we are. I feel a great responsibility to encourage and strengthen the youth in word and deed. To shine bright, so that they too can be gathered themselves, then assist in gathering the rest of lost Israel. Because that is what we were born to do."
There are three things I want y'all to never forget.
One: The success is in the invitation.
Two: There are angels among us.
Three: Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.
I love you all!