I hope the sunny weather is getting to you wherever you may be. It feels like Spring here! Then again, Oklahoma is more weather-bi-polar than Utah. I hereby declare it to be so. But for the time being, I won't complain about how wonderful it feels here. Sister Hirschi and I were able to ditch our car a few times this week and walk our area. It always feels so rewarding to be out on your feet sharing the Gospel with anyone washing their car, mowing their lawn, or sitting in their rocking chair. Also, good weather naturally puts people in a better mood. I'm learning this quickly.
This week, Sister Hirschi and I threw together a meeting for the Sisters in our zone and in the Midwest City Zone. We've had it in the works for a while, and we were so pleased with how it turned out. Each of the sisters gave a short training on basic missionary fundamentals that we prayerfully assigned out to them, and then we trained on trusting in God and communicating with your companion. After the many exchanges we went on, we started to realize that those two things are the root to almost every problem: Lack of communication and lack of faith. The reason that's the root is because if you don't have faith, you don't want to work. If you don't communicate, you can't identify problems and brainstorm solutions.
One particularly poignant thought I've had on my mind this week is the power of work, and how a good work ethic really is attainable for everybody, but you have to work at it. I used to think laziness was an unchangeable part of my being. If I was having a rough day, I could justify sitting in front of my laptop for hours on end. Even on a good day I could justify that! But as a missonary, nothing makes you more miserable than sitting in your apartment all day (even when you're really, really, REALLY tired). There is nothing more engaging or mood-altering than the work of the Lord, and consistent diligence has taught me that I can exceed my own idea of my capacities by just going and doing. I don't think this principle applies to just missionary work. When we are diligent, and engage ourselves in work and education and uplifting activities, our apathy and negativity melt away. We become joyful. Our effectiveness increases when we rely on the Lord, especially when we "consecrate our performances unto Him" through prayer. I used to think there was a distinct line between Spiritual activities and temporal activities. Spiritual being going to church, reading the scriptures, etc... and temporal being doing homework, going on a hike, etc... But there is no reason that the Lord cannot be involved in every aspect of our lives. And when we do involve Him, we are more able to enjoy life in the here and now.
I have a testimony that hard work is the cure to most worldly stresses and feelings of inadequacy. I know it is vital that we are indeed, "anxiously engaged in a good cause." Time heals all wounds, but action heals them faster.
I really like this quote. I heard it in Sunday School last week:
“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in.
The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of the people,
and then they take themselves out of the slums. … Christ changes men,
who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior,
but Christ can change human nature” (“Born of God,” Ensign, Nov.1985, 6).
Beloved family (and friends who are also family) of mine, I love you. I pray for you. I know that our Savior lives and that he died for us so that we could have hope in being changed and cleansed from our imperfections. And I know that he doesn't care what choices we're making now or how low we feel, our Heavenly Father loves us, and is protecting us, whether we acknowledge him for it or not.