Monday, February 23, 2015

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

I got 26 emails today. I don't say that to boast, I say that hoping that I can answer all 26 emails at once. At least the questions therein. :) But to start off, I love you guys. SO much it hurts my soul.

To answer questions: I got transferred to Oklahoma City-South. It's still a sister training leader area, which means it's still English. And yes, we have a car, for all of you who have made the connection that we live right off the interstate and are terrified about us biking or walking. But I will say, our area is actually really nice for being in the city. We drove through the Spanish elder's area the other night, and that's cause for worrying, but ours is pretty classy. :)

My companion, Sister Hirschi, is a gem. She is one of the most hardworking, Christlike people I have ever met. I feel blessed to be able to spend my time with her and learn from her. We won't be companions for long, because she's at the end of her mission and goes home on April 1st, but I feel pretty lucky to be with her for the time-being. We're learning our area together, because she's fairly new to the area as well, so it's been an adventure.

Leaving Stillwater was hard. There are so many people that I adore. The ward was incredible, the people we met were incredible, and the missionaries were all pretty influential. But the ward here, the OKC 2nd ward, has proven to be quite inviting and I'm eager to work with them.

We're teaching quite a few people that have a lot of potential. One fella in particular, his name is Conor. He referred himself to the missionaries online because he was curious about Mitt Romney and Brandon Flowers, and he wanted to know more about what they believed. He ordered a Book of Mormon and got some missionaries instead. He has so much faith. And the Spirit has born such a powerful testimony to him of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. He wants to read the whole book before he gets baptized on March 14th, but anytime we teach a principle, he testifies to us why he knows that it's from God and how applying it to his life has already made him a better, happier person. I wish I could describe the kind of love you feel as a missionary for the people that you teach, but it's hard to do. Suffice it to say, I care about him so much and feel so honored to be a part of his spiritual journey. [Cheesy statement.... but it doesn't make it less true.]

There are quite a few perks about serving in the city. First of all, I know I'm supposed to be here. The spirit has testified it to me so many stinkin' times. But there are some other perks as well... The night of transfers, we got invited to go to the Nashville Tribute Band concert. Which was an oddly spiritual experience. We had some investigators there, and they loved it. All of the songs they played were beautiful, about Jesus Christ. Then, last night, there was a fireside where three recent converts spoke on their conversion. It made me grateful that we all have the opportunity to be converted in our own lives, and that our Heavenly Father has such individualized plans for each of us to discover and draw near to the restored Gospel.

Sister Hirschi and I were able to have a conversation about that principle one night, and she was asking me about what I had learned from experiences I had prior to coming on my mission. I recognized how little our circumstances or our current situations actually define who we are. Maybe that's how the world defines us: by stature, or appearance, or ranking, or wealth, or even sin. But what really defines you is how you choose to live the Gospel. Because developing yourself in a spiritual way is going to be what really counts in the long-run. It's going to develop you intellectually, and actually improve who you are at the root.

Then we listened to a fireside that was given to some youth a while back called "Break Up With the World". It's pretty cheesy, definitely geared toward youth. But he brought up a lot of thought-provoking ideas. What are we holding onto that is holding us back from receiving even more blessings than we are now? He explains that we all have this little battle with the Holy Ghost, where we know somethings that we choose to do, listen to, watch, or say aren't particularly helpful, in fact, they're somewhat hindering. They don't make us feel better about ourselves, but we're obsessed with them. I could name quite a few things that I know I did this with back home. And even on the mission, I know there are things that I do that hold me back. But it really opened my eyes and helped me realize that God sees these things that we do as stumbling blocks, walls we put up to make our lives more difficult. They may seem small, but added up, they keep us from being able to be happier, more successful, easier to be around, kinder, et cetera. So I'm trying to identify how I can be better, and I've already noticed a difference. So I encourage you to do the same. It feels amazing to change. Sometimes we get so comfortable in ourselves that it's painful to evaluate what we could do better and then fix it, but we always come out better, stronger people when we do.

Alma 16:16-17
16And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming—
17That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a branch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God. 

I love you all very, very much. It's tricky to report on transfer week because everything's new. I never know where to start. But I'm happy! Healthy! And the Lord is good! Also, it's snowing here, if you were wondering. Love you!
Hermana Best

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