This week marks my year mark if you can believe it. I CANT!
We were very blessed with a busy schedule this week and I am so grateful for the success that we have been having. Every week we follow the same routine. We teach some amazing lessons and some not so amazing lessons. We do some tracting, lots of contacting, studying, and laughing. Every week we teach some creepies, weirdies, oldies... the list could go on. And I could spend hours writing stories of the odd situations we are put in as well as the miracles we see. But with every cat lady and chain smoker, I have seen so much beauty in how unique each person is.
On Saturday morning we got on a train out to a tiny city called Vingåker, where we have been doing most of our work. We taught a few lessons- one bad, one good. The difference of the spirit was amazing to witness. Our third lesson got cancelled, so with an hour left, we decided to go tracting. We went to these three yellow buildings and knocked on all of the doors in the first two, with no success. On the last door we knocked on in the third building, Esther came to the door and immediately let us in. We went in and sat down and got to know her a bit. She is from The Congo and speaks Swahili, French, and English- so of course, I sang her my Swahili song that Fianesi taught me in the ninth grade. She told us that she is here alone and that ten years ago when she was 27, she was taken with her family in The Congo, and put in a camp in Rwanda. Her son and family are still there, but she was put in Sweden and her brother was put in America. It is such a sad story. She said that it has to do with the Hutu and Tutsi thing. I remember learning a lot about that when Fianesi and her family came to Utah. And also when Dad and I watched "Hotel Rwanda".
It is so hard being put in these situations because we personally, cannot compare our struggles with theirs. But luckily, we do carry the message of our Savior Jesus Christ, who does know what she is going through. After listening to her, tears rolling down both mine and Sister LaFontaine's cheeks, we bore strong testimony to her of God's love for her. She was so grateful that we knocked on her door and she invited us to come back next week. She is so humble and a great inspiration to me. We gave her a Book of Mormon and ended with a prayer. The spirit was so strong and I felt so much love in my heart for her. We left and offered a prayer of gratitude, and my soul was filled with EXQUISITE joy.
More than anything right now, I am so grateful that Heavenly Father allows me, with all of my flaws, to sit with His children and tell them He loves them. Everyday I am reminded of my flaws and yet everyday I am so happy, because I feel Gods love and I can't wait to share it with others.
"Oh, it is wonderful to know that our Heavenly Father loves us- even with all of our flaws! His love is such that even should we give up on ourselves, He never will. We might see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. Our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever... The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and women for the eternities." - Joseph B. Wirthlin.
I feel so blessed to be a missionary. I only have six short months left to give this work my all and I am so grateful that Heavenly Father continues to trust me in sharing the gospel. I am grateful for the transformation that the gospel gives to each of us. I am grateful for my flaws, because it is through them that I learn to love myself and others. I am grateful for the interesting people that I meet everyday because they are all sons and daughters of God, just trying to make it by. I enjoy meeting with the family that believes in a Korean Messiah because they are down to Earth and they make life fun. I love watching a member load slices of butter onto each slice of meat that he is cooking for me because I am just grateful for the meal he is giving me. I love teaching the people who are struggling because they keep me humble and help me to not complain.
The work is wonderful. I love every minute of it.
PS. This is my new favorite guy. http://www.mormon.org/kaiping - Good luck with the language Henry :)))
P.S.S. Every week a member does Family History with us. I have not been very fond of doing it but I decided to look at moms side of the family to see if I could find anything. I clicked on Nana's mom, Alta Simpkins and then on her parents and then clicked again and I noticed that Alta's grandma had a Swedish last name... so I opened it and she comes from Malmö! I was so shocked and excited because I didn't know that mom had any Swedish in her. I kept clicking back and saw so many Swedish names and that I have actually been to a lot of the places that they are all from, way down south in Skåne. So I am going to work on finding more names next time :).