Happy birthday to Aimee this week! It's the day after my companion's birthday so we're just going to celebrate all week long! :)
Read the words to the hymn "How Firm a Foundation". I believe it's hymn number 85. I love that song, all the words are so powerful and sincere. "Fear not, I am with thee, oh be not afraid. For I am thy God, and will still give the aid. I'll strengthen thee... and cause thee to stand" I'm forgetting some of the words...but the song is stuck in my head and it's a great one! Some of the verses hit hard this week and it reminded me of one of my favorite scriptures, D&C 84:88. God has angels sent to each and every one of us, to strengthen us and bear us up on the right and on the left. He has called us to this work, whatever work you are doing currently, and because of that, He will NEVER leave us!
You guys will appreciate this... so y'all know how I can't cook? Like, at all? Well one thing I thought would be great about a mission would be to learn how to do things like that. So, since the elders always cook for us, I thought I'd try out a dinner that I've been wanting to make and we would cook for them. (I warned them I couldn't cook and it could be bad). Sister Turner told me to let her know if I needed help. Ha, so great. So I was cooking sausage and pepper in a pan and when I was done with one part, I poured the food onto a plate so I could cook some more. Well, I guess some of the grease dripped down the side of the pan and before you know it it was on fire. Yikes. Sister Turner walked and and we were like "Oh shoot!" because the pan down to the coil was on fire. All while I was holding the pan up. So... I still can't cook but it makes for a good story! She said she was ready to get the baking soda but it really wasn't that bad, I promise :) The elders just did kind of a face palm type thing when we told them, but I know they think I'm awesome ;) The dinner was good though!
Remember Alex, who I mentioned in last week's letter? We finally got the chance to sit down and meet with him this week and he is so prepared! The things he said were amazing, and he really understood what we talked about. He knows he's supposed to do something in life-he's here for a reason and the more we talked, the more we could see. Like almost everyone else who lives in Albany, he hates it here and wants out. BUT, God placed him here to find us, I have no doubt about that. He has been thirsting for the gospel, even though he didn't know exactly what he was thirsting for and Heavenly Father made it happen. You definitely know he was being prepared because Sister Turner and her companion before me were prompted to knock on his door one day, and now here we are, setting a baptismal date for. He's a very good football player and wants to play at a higher level, hopefully NFL. All he desires is that when people hear his name, they think of something good. Something good he was able to do, the people he was able to influence, and the change for the better he made in the world. I'd love to see him do that as a football player, but whatever God's plan is for Alex I know he'll follow through with it. I'm crossing my fingers for a mission, ha ha. I believe he's 21 so he could do it and he would be amazing if he did! Fingers crossed!
I have been debating for weeks whether or not to bring this up, but I guess the fact that it is still on my mind means I should. I feel that it is important for people to know that everyone struggles. I don't know the words to say, but I have been struggling. I don't know if it's with confidence or absolute faith, but I feel myself holding back as a missionary and when I bear my testimony to people. When I hold back I am allowing doubt to creep in, and I know that that is not how it should be. The past two weeks have been pretty emotionally draining with my own thoughts and emotions as well as trying to know the best way to help the people I am serving but I have great confidence in knowing that all of these experiences are for my good, making me a better and stronger missionary. The reason I share these things is not for people to turn their attention towards me, but for people to know that everyone struggles. Everyone also puts on a strong face and forces a smile sometimes, but none of us are alone. We have a Heavenly Father who loves us more than we can comprehend. We have a Brother, a Savior who is Jesus Christ who loves you so much that He took upon Himself every sin, grief, pain and sorrow that you would ever feel, that you would be able to lean on Him as you go through those hard times because He is the one who can and will get you through it all. It is by and through Jesus Christ that Salvation is possible. I promise you He is there, His arm extended towards you. Look at a picture of Christ. Look at His eyes, and just imagine what He would say to you. It's pretty powerful when you do it. Also, in Sacrament meeting this coming week, when the water cups are dropped, listen. Imagine those as Christ's precious drops of blood that fell from every pore. Whatever concern or question you have, whatever you may be struggling with, turn to the Savior. Allow the Atonement to work in your life; it is always there, but we are the ones who have to accept it. If you don't really want it, it cannot do anything for you.
Remember, "For is must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.." 2 Nephi.
And one scripture for us all to really break down and understand more in depth, "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Ether. God will make our weaknesses become strong unto us. We only need to be humble and full of faith. His grace is sufficient for all men. Sufficient for all men. Grace means that you do your best, and Christ makes up the rest.
I hope you all have an amazing week. Heavenly Father answers prayers, remember that. I promise that as you desire to come closer to Him, you will be blessed.
Remember that doubt is the opposite of faith. "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
"I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." Philippians. Make the scriptures personal. Change a couple words if needed so that they apply directly to you. Read them as if God were talking directly to you, because He is!
Y'all are the best and I love you!