Saturday, February 15, 2014

If You're Feeling Overwhelmed... That's a Good Thing

Hey all!

So I kind of wish my pday last week would have been Monday so I could have told you more things. On Sunday my branch president asked my companion and I to take on the 'zone leader' responsibilities as sister training leaders. So with that they are supposed to have another sister be the 'district leader', but he told me he wants to keep me in both. So I was overwhelmed but I'm just trying to take it in stride and remember I'm only in this position for one week. Seven days, that's it. I'm probably going to jump around a little bit, but I want to tell you everything I can remember from this past week. Yesterday we had a training and it's where someone said "If you're feeling overwhelmed or in over your head, that's good! It means you're going to need to rely on the Savior for His help. It means you realize you can't do everything on your own, but with Him you can do anything and everything." It just brought me a lot of comfort and I feel blessed with the responsibilities I'm being trusted with here.

This week was actually a pretty hard one. One of the elders in our zone went home, but he said it really wasn't his decision. He wanted to stay. But he has anxiety and after a lot of things happened whoever makes the decision decided that he needed to go home and get things cleared up before he could serve. So that was really hard on everyone as we had to say goodbye and couldn't even hug him. We're getting pretty used to handshakes here:) And then on top of that, another sister in our zone, one of the ASL missionaries, her dad passed awayon Wednesday night. So it's just been an emotional rollercoaster and everyone seems to being hit pretty hard whether it's trying to help someone in their situation, or it's there own. Everyone still has a life back home and family members really are struggling. Divorces are happening, brothers are struggling to keep going to church, holy moly I can see why it is so hard to keep focused but I know that when we do, blessings happen. Miracles occur. "Obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles."

Sister Richardson and I have been teaching two investigators this past week and I feel like with one we do awesome and I'm on a spiritual high, and even going into the other we're pumped and so excited to share our message and every day when we leave her I just want to punch the wall. The main thing I've learned here is that you really need to have and show a sincere love for your investigators or you aren't going to get anywhere. I felt like I loved this lady because she is nice, but I feel like we have had no success with her. (This is an investigator where they don't tell us if she really is an investigator, or a member of the Church giving her story/acting like herself before she became a member). We think she really is a member and is doing a dang good job making our lives difficult. I love it because I feel like I'm in Georgia and this is exactly how it will be, but I'm having the hardest time with her. She said she doesn't want to argue anything, but I'm always frustrated. A sister in my district just straight up asked me if I loved her because she knew if there wasn't love then we wouldn't feel the Spirit and wouldn't be able to teach, and I couldn't tell her yes at that moment. Frustration is not love. I feel like if we were out in the mission field, she would end up being an investigator we would have to drop from teaching because she's set on she has her beliefs and we have ours, and no matter how much I want to teach her and let her know the blessings the gospel has brought to my life, if she doesn't want to hear about it she has the right to make that decision. We have had one lesson out of the three where I could bear her a solemn testimony that she was a daughter of God and that He loved her personally and the Spirit was so strong in that moment, but that was the only time. We teach her one more time tomorrow and I'm hoping to leave on a good note, but missionary work is exactly what it says-work! We have learned so much about the value of planning and preparing because even if the lesson isn't what you had planned, it won't be a train wreck because you did try and you did prepare a message and because of that, the Holy Ghost will do what it always does and bear testimony of the truth you share-your words will be guided. And with any investigator but for me specifically this woman, I loved a quote I heard the other day that said "No one can argue with your testimony because it's YOURS." They can Bible-bash all they want, but they can't argue with your testimony. If you know it's true, it's yours and they can't do anything to change that. 

Oh! Ok, so since it's Valentines Day, we were like oh whoopty one cares because that's awkward. We can't even give elders high-fives, just handshakes. But today doing laundry, the district of elders in our zone went to the bookstore and bought us all a treat and gave us a valentine we used to give in elementary school. Cute huh?! At first they wouldn't even talk to us and during meals they'd leave a gap between them and us sisters and we finally just only left six chairs so they were forced to sit next to us-it was pretty hilarious we thought. And they figured out that that's what we did but they have finally warmed up to us and realized that it's not flirting if we're friends. So pretty much we're finally all friends now that we're leaving on Monday. But we're getting contact info and we'll get in touch after our missions.

Tell Moroni's family he was (I'm sure still is) doing awesome! He left Tuesday but the first night I got here when I saw him the first thing he asked about was how his family was. He loved it here and wanted to make sure they were doing OK and let them know he loved them. So pass that on please :)

I have my journal with me but I'm still trying to type out everything in summary. We watched the best devotional video here on Sunday that apparently can only be seen here. It was give by Elder Bednar a couple years ago on Christmas here and he talks about the Character of Christ. I wish you could hear the entire talk, but basically he talked about how when we are in need or struggling, we usually turn inwards. We think about ourselves. But Christ on the other hand, always turned outward. That was His character. We should always be looking at each situation we face and see how we can turn away the natural man in us, how we can not be selfish, and always look to help others, to let Christ's divine nature shine through us at all times, even when we are the ones in need. There are countless stories/examples of this in the scriptures of how Christ fulfilled this. 

I should have written down more emails so I could say thank you personally, but thank you for the emails! Thanks to Chris and Krissy for the package, it was adorable and much appreciated. I love the cute humor stuff you guys have always done and it was fun to get that here, so thank you!

And I wrote down Braxton's parents' email on the forwarding list, but I didn't write it down in my address book so I'll just say it here so they can see. I saw him Thursday night after dinner and felt so awesome because he said he had never been happier to see me. Ha! I knew he appreciated me ;) Just kidding. But yesterday was his birthday and he is so overwhelmed, the same as I was last week, and he just said it was the worst birthday ever. And I feel so bad for him! I promised him it gets better and I hope he just expects that so it will happen. And to his family, he misses you guys. He said when he went to New York last summer he was fine but last night he was like "I already miss my family! And I've only been here for two days!" Haha. He'll be just fine though but I thought I'd let you know he loves you and is doing well.

Alright I'm going to try to send pictures again, but I don't know which ones so I can really put descriptions. It will mostly be me and my companion, our district, the elders in our zone, something missionaries left in the cafeteria that reminds me why missionaries are the greatest, funniest people in the world, and friends I've run into. 

I love you all though, we leave for Georgia Monday morning so I will probably call at the airport between 6 and 8am... I'm really not sure. We leave here around 4:30am, and I think our flight is at 8:30. But have a wonderful few days before I talk to you again. Love ya!

Sister Applegate

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