Sunday, March 10, 2013
thrust in the sickle with all your might!- February 3, 2013
qinai de jiating wu an :)
i remembered an anne of green gables moment that happened last week which i forgot to tell you about....the first couple of days here in D i didn't have my bike so one of the new members in our ward rode her bike over to our apartment and let me borrow it. it was way too small for me but whatever. the next day we went out to lunch with this sister yang and as we were crossing the street to go eat at a hot pot place (hot pots: you have your own little stove on the table like the kind we take camping and then a little metal dish of boiling water and they put a bunch of vegetables and weird meat and sometimes normal meat inside. when it is cooked you pick it out with chopsticks and eat it with rice. mmmmmmm!) and i felt like it was getting harder and harder to pedal my bike. i was confused and thought i just must have had it in a weird gear (i've been riding gear bikes for 6 months and still am not entirely sure how they work. no one seems to know! there are two different sets of numbers!!! huh?!?!) so i flipped through a bunch but in a matter of seconds it just stopped completely. i was in the middle of the road at this point and cars/a wave of scooters were starting to pour down the road so i just picked up the bike and did a little waddle run across the street. when i turned to examine the bike i realized i couldn't move and quickly realized that my skirt had gotten caught in the back wheel!!! i felt so foolish and just started pulling it as hard as i could. sister yang noticed and came over. she did this amazing maneuver where she held the back end of the bike up in the air and spun the wheel so my skirt flowed out without tearing at all. i burst out laughing. it was my own fault cause i forgot that that is one of the skirts i always have to tie knots in when i ride my bike. good thing sister yang was there or i might have ripped my whole skirt apart and had to tie my coat around my waist, run all the way home, and change....that would've been a walk of shame i'd never forget. sister yang is super cool. i met her when i came to D in december on sister exchanges. she played the harmonica while we sang the opening
hymn in our lesson :)
today is actually sister yang's birthday and she and 2 other recent converts are waiting to have lunch with us so i just wanted to share a brief (we'll see if i am really capable of making it brief) explanation of some of my experiences/thoughts of the past week in my new area.
it was a hard week. i haven't been THIS tired in a long long time. it's always an adjustment when you are in a new place with a new companion and you are learning about their differences in style and preference.....i really love it though. i felt like we worked like dogs all week and every single night i collapsed into bed and my personal prayers were totally absurd because i was half-dreaming while saying them. we worked so hard but i felt frustrated because it wasn't really reflecting in much success....or at least....not as much as one would hope. our numbers overall were pretty low, we have almost no investigators, and hardly anyone was willing to talk to us. i never really believed what people said about the difference between the north and south....down south people really are more willing to stop and talk to you or give you their information. it's very interesting. maybe the people are warmer and friendlier because it's warmer down there. :)
anyway i was just frustrated with myself and it kind of felt like hard to get into the new groove. i was really trying but i was letting a little cold spot of hopelessness and weariness weigh down on my heart. as fast sunday approached my companion and i decided to fast for a recent convert who is trying to quit smoking (for the second time) so she can go to the temple and do ordinances for her family. this fast could not have come at a more perfect time. in sunday school we talked about sacrifice and i did a lot of pondering....especially about the atonement. i thought about how every time we are asked to sacrifice, God blesses us....or at least that has been my experience. we shouldn't expect the blessings in kind of a haughty and prideful manner....but they really do always come. and as the hymn says "sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven".
i thought about how Christ sacrificed everything for us. what was His reward? He got what He wanted: a way for all of us to be perfected and to come back home to that God who gave us life. it still wasn't really His reward though....the thing He most wanted was not even about Him, it was about us. as i was thinking about these things the words came into my mind "i need you to give me everything". it was an extremely powerful moment as i sat in a chilly little classroom on the second floor of an office building where the D members meet for church. because sister t was going to be training this movecall, we knew earlier than we normally would have that i would be leaving (we found out on monday but usually we get the call on the 6th week of the movecall on a saturday night).
as i contemplated my new adventure that week, i had a feeling that it was going to be very different, that i was going to have to step it up to a new level in a way i never had before. i believe i've been giving it my best effort my entire mission.....it's not perfect but i really have been trying despite the way it may look sometimes. i just had this feeling that a lot of hard work was in store and i felt completely calm about it. i'm really excited to give more than i've ever tried to give. to be and do more to sacrifice it all for the sake of preaching the gospel. to devote every second and every breath to accomplishing my purpose. why am i here? that is a question that came to my mind a couple times this week. what am i DOING here? but deep in my heart i had the answer and it kept me pedaling forward, it kept helping me open my mouth and speak chinese and try to teach people about Jesus Christ, a person they don't know but who knows and loves them perfectly.
i am here because i have been snatched and my eyes have been opened to the beauty, truth, and reality of the gospel of Christ. i know He is my Savior, and i have to be true to what i know and take this opportunity to share it every day with my brothers and sisters...on this isle of the sea.
i read a really great quote by Elder Bednar this week..."You have been prepared for this day and to build up the kingdom of God. You are here upon the earth now to assist in this glorious work." he was actually talking about family history work but it stuck out to me for my current situation. i re-read 2 corinthians 4. i read nephi's psalm in 2 nephi 4.....i know God will help me move forward "if i ask not amiss". it's so good.....it's so so good.
i hope this makes sense......i really love daya. i love my companion sister l. it's just a new adventure and the challenges are different but i'm makin my way :)
huge answer to prayer this week.....we had an investigator show up for church an hour and a half late (i was praying the whole time that she'd make it) and then she was really embarrassed cause her little girls were being noisy but refused to go to primary. i assured her that it was alright and just prayed for the rest of sunday school and relief society that her children would be still and our investigator sister xie would feel the spirit. her little girls calmed down and sister xie was totally moved by the relief society lesson. i felt God was with me because the situation was so beyond anything i could do. then i shared a scripture....3 nephi 9:22 "therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will i receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. behold, for such i have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved." she loved it. we talked about how little children are such a good example for how we should live and how much Jesus loves them. after she left i felt like my spirit sighed with relief.
i love you all so much. i hope this email doesn't seem really negative.....it was a hard week and there's a lot of work for me to do for the rest of this movecall and my mission....but i am full of hope and i feel very calm and peaceful. i love this work. i love it i love it i love it.
i love all of you and pray for your success and safety!!! my dear little family!!!!! i ADORE you all. thank you for giving me strength and courage and faith :)