This week was sooo good. Sister Hirschi did, indeed, go home. She finished her mission with valor! She's awesome and she will surely be missed. But my new companion is Sister Garner whom I LOVE. We were able to serve around each other in Stillwater, so we already knew each other pretty well, and now it's been an easy transition. It feels like an extended exchange to serve with her. But she is hardworking and diligent and so stinking loving. I think we're having too much fun, but I guess I won't complain. However, I forgot to take any pictures this week... so you'll have to settle for this one that I took just now of her emailing her family.
Today my brain is working in a jumbled mess of thoughts so here...hopefully this can somewhat be cohesive:
Last night, after conference and a few appointments, we pulled into our parking lot and were grabbing our bags out of the trunk when a man approached us and asked us if he could talk to us about something. You mission eliminates any remaining instinct to "not talk to strangers", so naturally, our response was,
"I'm baptist, and my Mom is religious, but not terribly. She prays, but she doesn't pray in the name of Jesus Christ. She just prays straight to God. Does he still hear her prayers?"
Sister Garner and I both got these massive smiles on our faces. Maybe it was the spirit we had felt over week, but we both were able to say with conviction, "Yes. Of course." I know that our Heavenly Father LOVES His children. He knows that we're all learning, and that none of us are perfect, nor anywhere close to perfection of knowledge. But that's why it's important to constantly evaluate ourselves. It's easy to look at religion from a general standpoint and think, "the commandments exist, but they're not particularly relevant to me." Sometimes we have to pause and evaluate what we individually could be doing to strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father. And how that would benefit us. No matter WHAT we believe or who we are, it is important for each of us to have a personal relationship with God. What are you willing to do to get that for yourself?
I've been asking myself that question. I've been devoting myself more fully to personal prayer. How much of my heart, might, and mind am I willing to put on the altar to offer up to God. How much of yours are you?
I really appreciated all of the talks given at General Conference, but something that stuck out to me was by Elder Sitati, when he said that we become fruitful when we serve God and when we serve others. Then he quoted the scripture in Matthew that declares, "by their fruits, ye shall know them." People identify us by the fruit that we produce. It matters very little who we are if it does not reflect what we do. So I've been trying to determine what type of fruit I bring forth. Are the things I do a reflection of the type of person that I think I am or that I want to be?
Lastly, I've had this scripture on my mind all week in Alma 37: 44-45
"It is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land....for behold... the words of Christ, if we follow their course, [shall] carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise."
I know that heeding the word of Christ (the things we learned in General Conference this week, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, living the commandments, et cetera...) are 100% integral in giving us the only true and lasting happiness that exists. And there is NOTHING we can do to imitate the joy or happiness that God has prepared for us.
I love you guys.
As promised, a pic. of my beloved companion, Sister Garner