Monday, September 2, 2013

hard work + happy = magic

This morning I was reading in the gospel of John, the story of when Jesus healed the lame man at the pool of Bethesda. He healed the man, and then I guess because the crowd started to gather there, Jesus left. But later, it says, he found the man in the temple, and finished teaching him. He taught him that yes, he'd been healed, but what was more important was that he not sin anymore, that he change his life. I love that Jesus found the man again, knowing the man didn't quite yet understand fully what he needed to do. This is really important to me, in terms of the character of Christ. There have been times in my life when I've taken a giant step of faith--when I've taken up my bed and walked, so to speak--but when right after, I realized I had no idea what to do next. These moments are scary. But this morning I realized that part of the character of Jesus Christ is that he promises he won't ever leave us only halfway there. The Lord will not suffer that we should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, as Ether 2: 7 says, but that we should come forth even unto the land of promise. He'll find us in our places and teach us the rest of what we need to know to get to where he has promised we could be.

We had zone conference this week and it was so so good. Every time I get to talk to our mission president, I come out a different person. He explained that as sister training leaders (me and Sister Bicchierri's job right now), one of our most important jobs is teaching 22 other sisters missionaries and motivating them. I love love love it. He asked us to do as many exchanges as we could in the last two weeks of the transfer, so we're doing one every day except for Sundays. Our main goal in exchanges is to uplift and motivate and teach the other sisters how to have success on their missions. President Roney said the formula I'm supposed to teach sisters is that happy + hard work = magic. So needless to say we're having fun. And learning how to have fun better. It's incredible how heavy the weight of missionary work can be somedays. I can't quite figure out why it is this way. Perhaps it has something to do with knowing you have to talk to strangers all day, and be outside of yourself all day... (This is coming from a girl who prefers a quiet room with an accordion and a novel on Friday nights...) Sometimes we feel really inadequate (sister missionaries especially). Plus the fact that every moment you feel the clock ticking and the constant question, "Am I doing enough? Am I loving my mission enough? Am I doing everything I need to???" I'm learning how careful you have to be with your thoughts, because regret and worry is a black hole. But oh how laughter and talking fixes these crazy ways of freaking ourselves out. So yeah: we try to laugh a lot and talk a lot on our exchanges, all the while teaching sisters better, happier ways to be missionaries. Oh lala. It is an adventure and I love it.

And one lesson I learned this week is that one little kind word can totally change a person. Even words you don't think are particularly profound or anything. If they're encouraging someone to be more who you know they can be, they are very very important. I think of the kind things people have said to me before that probably to them were nothing but to me I have reflected on again and again and drawn strength from to become better and lift my sights of who I can be. I remember all the times my parents told me nice things about myself. Sometimes I look back and think about what a stinker I was sometimes and think, "Wow, they really had to see through a lot of rotten behavior to be able to say something that nice" hahaha, but oh how what they believed they saw in me shaped who I tried to become! We can help each other to become better by seeing good things in each other!

My goal for this preparation day today is to find an accordion. Pictures next week if I'm successful.

Pictures for this week:

1. Decided I needed to retake control of myself by not eating cereal for a week. This was the last bowl we ate before starting. It was delicious.
2. Makin calls. Bane of my existence. I'm so awkward on the phone, in French.
3. Art, in the middle of Geneva! At one point in my life I knew who made this rather large chair. I think he also made the large eraser in DC and the large arrow in San Fran but at this current point in my life, the only artist I can think of Leichtenstein. And Calder. I can always think of Calder.
4. Gex! So storybook it killed me.
5. At a lil service project. I got to weed for an hour and half and have never been so happy in all my life. Nature is a good good thing. Even the bad parts of it like weeds and dirt. (I don't know if you can see in the picture, but my hands were caked in dirt.)

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