HAPPY 2014! This New Years was quite...uneventful. It was the tamest New Years I have ever been apart of. We read from Preach My Gospel for three straight hours. I focused my study on boxing every time it mentioned part of our purpose. I got through about half of Preach My Gospel (100 pages) in the three hours. I actually really enjoyed sitting down and reading through Preach My Gospel quickly. It gave me a broader perspective and showed how every chapter relates to each other. Also it was neat to focus on how much our purpose is scattered throughout Preach My Gospel. There wasn't one page where there wasn't one principle mentioned. This really re-enforced how we should always have our purpose at the forefront of our minds. I have continued reading a little bit each personal study because it's so nice to remind myself of everything I've learned throughout my mission.
In my personal study I'm currently reading in Jacob 5. I have been really focusing on applying the chapter to myself regarding missionary work. I've always looked at this chapter as the Spiritual history of the world. It's been very enlightening to really dig deep and studying this chapter little by little. Today I read verses 13-25. I love how the Lord never leaves us alone because this is His work and His glory. He will always say, "Let us go down and labor". This re-enforces D&C 84:88 and gives me great comfort, and is an example of how Christlike leadership. The Lord knows His vineyard (the world) perfectly. We should never seek to counsel the Lord (vs.22) because His ways are always higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). We cannot judge others based on their circumstances (vs.21-22) and we must labor with all diligence regardless if we see the fruits of our labors currently (vs. 25). I am so grateful for personal revelation and the counsel Heavenly Father gives to each of us as we are obeying one of his commandments- reading the scriptures. I know the scriptures give us protection as we read them daily.
This past Monday we had a lesson with Sierra! Which was great because we taught the first half of the Plan of Salvation. Each of them had a lot of questions and we addressed many of their concerns. We found out the deep underlying concern Denise has and why she really hasn't been to church in the past two years. They didn't end up coming to church yesterday because they all had the stomach flu. Sad day! Now it's just over coming that hurdle! We're trying our best! We're trying to teach more the families in the ward the lessons so that Sister Beach can learn to teach and to strengthen the member's faith in Jesus Christ. We were supposed to teach Mercede's this week, but her sister who she hasn't seen in two years from California randomly showed up on the day we were supposed to teach! She then wasn't able to come to church because she was sick. We will teach her this week! I can feel it. The Lord works in mysterious ways- last week we just weren't supposed to start teaching her. Man, too many people have been sick these past weeks. We have had so many canceled appointments because of sickness. Luckily neither of us has gotten it (knock on wood). This past Sunday a less-active family we have been working with all came to church! That is two weeks in a row. We were so happy to see them and the ward was welcoming them in since they've only been to the ward twice since they moved in two years ago. We are teaching them the lessons to practice. :)
This Thursday I went on my first exchange as an STL. I exchanged with Sister Kamstra. She has been out for 8 weeks and I went to her area. We saw a lot of miracles during our exchange. We were supposed to start teaching one of their potentials, George, but he couldn't stand being at home since his wife just died. We talked to his neighbor who was going to come with us and asked if she would be willing to have the lessons at her house so George doesn't have to be reminded of his wife's passing while they're teaching him. We gave away two Book of Mormons to some people we talked with on the street, Dallin and Rene. They are both two solid potentials the sisters can work with. I have a firm belief in street contacting and finding people through Opening Our Mouths. Overall it was a great first exchange and I learned a lot from Sister Kamstra and I had a lot of fun! We even saw an icecream truck and had a popcile! I haven't seen an ice cream truck since I was a little girl! Fun times!
I am grateful for the many miracles we see daily and that we are able to participate in. I know my Savior loves me and watches out for me as well as all of you. I know the Lord wants each one of us to become more like Him and He will help us know what we should change and how we should go about doing it. He has set the perfect example and I love reading about His life and how I can try to emulate Him to become just a little bit better. I have come to have a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as I have prayed and used the Atonement in my life daily. I want to be closer to Him and I never want to do anything that would take me farther away from Him. I always strive to have the Spirit to be my constant companion because He is the ultimate teacher.