Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Sister Melanie

Hello Family!

Love you! Happy Thanksgiving!

The email that I am using is all different all of a sudden and it makes me feel a little confused, but I guess that I will just type and hope that it all works out in the end.

Last week was a short p-day so that we could go to the temple on Friday

I feel like I keep noticing not necessary last times that things are happening, but just that the number of times that I will do some things is becoming very limited. Like for instance, I will only go to the temple maybe 2 more times before the end. Only 12 p-days and 12 weekly planning sessions. After tomorrow, I will only anxiously wait to hear about transfers one more time. Sometimes time feels like it is going very slowly, but then all of a sudden I look back and it feels like time has flown by. Already, the sisters who I feel like just got here a few weeks ago are moving into their second transfer and two new sisters arrived in Omaha yesterday. Sister Davis and I are going to be taking them and the new elders on a tour of the Trail Center tomorrow morning. 4 sisters- Atkin, Dubois, Rhoades, and Robertson all flew home this morning. Its kind of a surreal thing because we only see each other a few times a week, so in a way it just feels like they are still here somewhere, I just haven’t seen them in a little bit. I remember before my mission, in a mission prep class at BYU, the teacher told us to be careful at the end of our missions not to just work hard the first half and then ride out the rest, but that is so much easier to say than it is to do! It is so easy to just slip into the mentality of "Oh, I only have a couple of months left, so I don't really need to .. ." or "I know that I need to work on. . . but in just a couple of months, it won't matter, so maybe I just won't worry about it." The more I think about it, the more I feel like I still have a lot of things that I need to learn and improve upon. It stresses my out sometimes. This morning, though I was reading through part of my journal from last February- so about 9 months ago- and I could definitely recognize the difference in myself since then. My whole way of thinking has changed, but I still know that I have room for improvement.

This last week, we had zone meeting, led by the zone leaders. They told us about a lot of changes that are coming to the way that we are doing missionary work. What it sounds to me like is that Heavenly Father is hastening the gathering big time right now. What they are asking us to do is to be prepared to share a brief summary of the restoration or plan of salvation (less than 2 minutes) and be able to share it with each person that we talk to. We are also supposed to invite every person that we meet to be baptized the first time that we teach them or talk to them. It is definitely a more bold approach to missionary work, but is helping us to identify the elect and to make sure that the people that we are teaching understand our purpose and why we are visiting them. With this, they also reminded us that our purpose is not to friendship- that is the responsibility of the members- our responsibility is just to teach. We still have a great love for our investigators and care about their opinions and ideas, but we are not there to just sit and chat with them. In zone conference, there was some opposition to the new ideas that were presented, but we were reminded that this is Lord's work and we are to do it His way.

I had a neat experience with prayer this last week. Some days, I just don't feel very satisfied at the end of the day with what I was able to accomplish. I think through my time at the Trail Center or in our area and don't always have a bunch of numbers to show for the time we spent working that day, so I feel like I didn't accomplish anything. In my personal study, as I was studying about faith and humility and obedience, I was reminded again that we are not expected to be perfect. Conversion is a life-long process. I was making myself overwhelmed by trying to think about and work on all of my weaknesses at the same time and making myself miserable. I finally decided to pray to ask Heavenly Father what He wanted me to do that day to be better. It started out with something small: just that I needed to make my bed and clean up our room a little. Then I asked "What more can I do?" Again, it wasn't anything big, just to participate in a meaningful way in Zone Meeting that day. Soon my list also included being first to sit up at the Trail Center when we were on shift in the afternoon and to make calls during my spare time. With only 4 simple things to accomplish during the day, I was able to accomplish all of them and know that I had accomplished what Heavenly Father wanted me to accomplish that day. Over the next few days, I was able to begin improving in small, manageable ways and I was able to feel successful without being overwhelmed. With Heavenly Father's help, I know that I will be able to being taking small steps that will help me to overcome bigger weaknesses and fears that otherwise seem too daunting to take on.

On Saturday, we went to the funeral of the 1st counselor in our Mission presidency- President W. Patrick Clarke- and his son. They were both killed in a tragic plane accident near Fresno on the 10th of this month. It was a sad occasion, but a beautiful tribute to both of them. I never expected to go to a funeral on my mission, but this was the third since just last January. It’s been interesting to see the difference in the three. This was definitely the best attended- filling the chapel and large cultural hall. There were probably around 1000 people there. Maybe more. As we heard about the lives of these two great men, I gained such a great respect for them and their families. I think one thing that really struck me was how close the family seemed to be. You could tell that they had very close relationships and made their families a priority. It really made me think about what I want to be remembered for in life. It’s good.

Ok. Love you so much!

Sister Melly

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