My Family! Hello, hello!
This week I have to say goodbye to Sister Roberts as she finishes her mission and heads to Utah. Which makes me really sad because she is one of my best friends. This transfer has been such a breeze because we have such open communication and she helped me through so much. But I get to meet my new companion, Sister Chandler, on Wednesday! I know absolutely nothing about her. Except that she's only been out for about five or six months. I'm excited!
I don't know where to start... except that it's like 2 degrees here. And on Wednesday our heater went out... So we woke up and it was 50 degrees in our apartment. For exercise, we all ran around our apartment bundled in our blankets and then fell on the floor and studied in our living room. Bishop Austin saved the day by bringing us little space heaters so we could weekly plan in warmth. It's been a bit chilly. They almost cancelled church because of the blizzard we had yesterday. Which would have been considered a light winter day in Utah. And may I just be the one to say, it is a different kind of cold. A humid, windy cold. The kind of wind that just pierces you to the core. So, needless to say, no one wanted to talk to us this week. But it was glorious, none the less.
We were able to see quite a few people and have quite a few experiences to really feel the spirit, really gauge their progress, like LeRoy. While we were on exchanges, Sister Loder and I went to see LeRoy. He is one of our most progressing investigators, and is really working toward understanding the things that we teach. We saw him this week and he had just finished reading the Children's Book of Mormon and started reading the real Book of Mormon. Before, he really struggled to understand it, but now that he's praying for understanding, we've been able to see a remarkable change in his comprehension. And he finally admitted that he's been struggling to feel the spirit. He comes to church, he reads diligently, but he still hasn't received that spiritual confirmation yet. I found this to be very interesting, and a testament to me, that the spirit speaks to us in a myriad of different ways. Even as long as I've been here, I've seen a change in LeRoy. In his countenance, in his lifestyle, in his attitude. It proved to be that, as the scriptures say, "by their fruits shall ye know them". Maybe he didn't have a first-vision experience of truth and enlightenment, but the improvement in the quality of his life was an indication to me that the Lord is working within him. We suggested that he pray to the Lord for the help to quit dipping. Whenever we see the Savior helping us through our biggest trials, it is a sure sign of the infinite and individual love that our Father in Heaven has for us. I'm sure of it.
Another really wonderful experience was getting to go to the temple with Carla, a woman who was baptized right before I got her. She did baptisms and was so emotional that whole time. We also go to be with one of the twelve-year-old girls in our ward who was going for the first time (Aubrey). It was an incredible experiences, the first time I had done baptisms in quite some time, and the spirit just reached into all of our hearts and testified of the holiness and sacred-nature of the temple. I will never doubt that it is the house of Lord. I have never walked into that building, any of them, and NOT received a witness that there is, indeed, something divine in the work that goes on within. It is nearly impossible to have a negative thought within the walls of the Lord's house. If you have the ability to go regularly and aren't taking advantage of it, you are denying yourself the opportunity to be ridiculously happy and positive in your dealings.
Sister Roberts has been a good example to me of someone who feasts on the scriptures. That's a skill I want to better develop. I've never been too talented at feasting on the scriptures. I can read them for understanding or a quick answer to prayers, but I struggle to really sit down and analyze story by story. So I cracked open the topical guide and decided to study captain Moroni. I received so much revelation through that that I finally just opened up and read from the beginning of the Book of Mormon again. I haven't done that since around this time last year. In the last two weeks, I've finished first Nephi, and it has improved my entire attitude. I've loved reading through 1 Nephi 21 this week. I have the endless question, as everyone does, "Why do good things happen to bad people?" and I've come across two types of "bad things":
1. Self-inflicted, results of our own choices
2. or faith and character-building trials.
Something I've noticed is that a lot of people who endure self-inflicted trials tend to cope with them by acting like a victim. They think that their choices haven't been the cause of their affliction. Yet many people who endure the second kind of trial can generally attribute it to their source; that God is testing and strengthening them. However both types could be dealt with oppositely. And that's where the faith and character-building comes from. In either instance, we can choose to accept that whether it's our "fault" or not, the Lord is on our side, comforting us, strengthening us to endure it. Isaiah gives an example of this, but I will relate Nephi's explanation of it,
"...for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted."
"But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me-but he will show that he hath not."
He goes on to talk about how a woman might possibly forget her child, but our Heavenly Father never will. We, as human beings, are imperfect. We are incapable of perfect love, no matter how hard we try. But to assume that God will forget you in your trials is to assume that God is not God. That he is not perfect. That you are not his child. And that he does not love you. And that, my friends, is the work of Satan. To make you think that the only person capable of loving you to the fullest extent has abandoned you. Don't listen to that. It's just a load of garbage.
I have loved this week. I have loved continuing to apply the principles taught yesterday and last week at church about self-reliance. I think the Lord is trying to tell me something because it has been the theme of ever organized meeting we've been to over the past two weeks. Anyone who knows me probably knows that I've often considered myself to be a pretty independent person, but I'm definitely one to run to my sources as soon as I hit a road block. ANd it has made me reevaluate my definition of the word "independent". I've been working on turning to the Lord with any question, any spiritual matter, that comes to mind. I'm working on becoming the kind of person that instead of saying:
"Okay, that didn't work... What should I do next?"
"Okay, that didn't work. So I'm going to try ______ and see if that works. Then I'll return and report."
When we are more self-reliant, when we are rescuing ourselves first and putting our trust in the Lord, he allows us to rescue others with our experiences.
I love this Gospel. I know that it's true. I know that it's the source of all happiness. And that we need not be a victim of our circumstances. I love all of you and am grateful for your support. Stay warm!
Hermana Best (<--I feel like I'm lying to myself... Sister Best!)
Temple with Carla and Aubrey!
Snow day! Pretty companion!