This last week was humbling and difficult. I won't bore you with all the details. I won't tell you how I went outside to start the car before church Sunday morning wearing slippers and no coat. And I won't add that it was -45 outside and that it almost turned disastrous but that I made it inside without dying or getting frostbite. I won't bother you with details about our investigators that are struggling and how my confidence was diminished a lot this last week. It was rough. But I will tell you about how I grew as a missionary and as a person. And how I learned that humbling experiences are necessary for personal growth. And I will tell you that I know prayers are answered. I know why I am here serving a mission. I know that when our loved ones pass away they go to another place where they watch over us and are actively engaged in what we are doing. I will tell you that when family members leave this earth without the gospel they rely on us to do their work for them. Finally, I will tell you about how even the most lost people can be found. Their hearts can and will be changed when we have faith.
Prayers are answered. Enough said. There were many times this week when Sister Haycock and I saw tender mercies because of answered prayers. Mom, I know that you guys pray for my investigators by name each night and because of that we have seen miracles. Some have struggled but there is one who has progressed so much. His family is being blessed and they are happy. Prayers are huge. Don't ever think that the things you pray for are insignificant or unimportant. They are not. Our happiness is always important to Heavenly Father. Last week Sister Haycock and I wanted muffins so bad! So we prayed for muffins. Crazy, right? Well, Sister Tadlock had us over for breakfast right after that and made us muffins! Then on Saturday we didn't have a dinner appointment set up and we were very hungry so we prayed that we would get a dinner appointment. Our ward boundaries are so big that it's hard to eat dinner with people because they live so far out. The people who live close are awesome though and we appreciate it. So on Saturday, it started getting late and no one called so we began to throw a few things together. We should have waited 15 minutes though because Brother Chessmore called us and had come into town and wanted to take us to dinner. Those tender mercies are reminders that Heavenly Father is aware of us and wants to take care of us. Keep your eyes open and you will notice them in your own lives!
The veil between this life and the next life is thin. Our family members who have passed on before us are not far away. We are still connected to them in so many ways. They need us and we need them. Geneology is so important. I read D&C 128:15 and it really gave me a new perspective about family history and temple work. It says: "And now, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters, let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers—that they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect." Think about that. Our family's salvation is necessary to our own salvation. They cannot be made perfect without us (we need to do their temple work) and we cannot be made perfect without them (we need to do their temple work). Geneology has become my most favorite thing to do lately. It is not just a hobby suggested by our church leaders. There is a reason that our church puts so many resources into family history work. It is so important!
Family history work and 1 Nephi 8:12 are the reasons I am on a mission. Verse 12 says, "And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit." This is why I am here in the coldest place in the country. This is why I am doing this. The gospel makes me happy and I want others to experience this same happiness.
Another reason I am serving a mission is because I know that hearts can and will be changed. I have no doubt that faith will bring about miracles just like they did for Alma in Mosiah 27. Alma was so sad that his son, Alma the Younger, had stopped believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It wasn't that he just stopped believing. He actually fought against the church and convinced many people to follow him. But the Lord changed Alma the Younger's heart. Alma prayed for so long that his son would come around and eventually he did. I know that if we keep praying and having faith, hearts can and will be changed :)
I love you family,