Hey Everyone! Can you say... one year??? Yup.. I've been out one year on Thursday.. That's. Just. Nuts!
What to know what else is nuts? Mom.. I totally did it. I have beat the odds, and promise to continue to do so :) I have lived in the South for a year and my jeans still fit! And my "fat" skirts have never had the pleat taken out, you know, to make them bigger.. If that's not a mission accomplishment.. I'm not sure what is!
Sister Harris and I
I had a pretty good week here in Allatoona, aka Woodstock and Ackworth. It hasn't been too cold which is a blessing :) In fact, we were tracting one day and I was just in a cardigan (no jacket) and this lady goes "Girl! I know Jesus will give you strength and keep you warm but its January.. Get a coat on!" haha Thank you Ms. Rae for your love and concern. :)
Honestly.. I don't really know what to talk about from this week. I know.. shocking.. seeing as I always have so much to say haha. So.. I apologize in advance for this being all scattered and what not. I think I really just want to talk about lessons that I've learned this past year and more specifically this week. We are still teaching the Dixon's, they all came to church again and LOVED it. Sister Dixon says she wants to talk to us about what day she wants to be baptized at dinner this week :) Its amazing how prepared this family is.. I honestly feel like they are teaching us.. when I know we're supposed to be the ones teaching them. What a blessing!
So.. Once upon a time I used to go on two exchanges a week.. then I got released and only have to go on one a transfer.. So of course the Sister Training Leaders made it so we went on an exchange the first week of the transfer.. haha So now, my exchange breaks really start :) But it was really good. I was with Sister Brienholt, she came out with Sister Beasley. It was super fun! We worked hard and saw so many miracles, it honestly was perfect timing and I'm so thankful for it.
We got to see a woman named Lisa again this week (I don't think I mentioned her in the email last week) but she was super sweet! The Spanish Elders met her a couple of weeks ago and invited her to read the Book of Mormon. When Sister Brienholt and I went and saw her she had a bunch of questions. One of which was "Okay.. so I read this chapter 11.. and I don't get it.. Who the heck are Nephites.. and why were they in a multitude? And where on earth were they to have the Savior come to them?" haha she is so sweet! So we taught her a lot about the Book of Mormon, why we are called "Latter-day Saints," and why we are called Mormons. She felt so bad that she calls us Mormons. She said "I am so sorry! I've been labeling you this whole time and not knowing it.. you're not Mormon.. You're Christian. I'll call you my fellow Christians from now on" haha oh sweet Lisa!!
I've had a lot of time to study the scriptures and think this week as Sister Harris hasn't been feeling too well. And I'm so thankful for all of the many things I've learned. Anytime I have a thought or anything while I study I write it down in the margins of my scriptures with the date.. Its really cool to see the impressions that have come to me this past year. Sometimes I'm amazed at the things that I've learned, and other times I want to slap myself for seeming to forget to put it in practice. I also have written peoples names down next to scriptures that mean a lot to them.. or if we have an experience sharing a scripture with them I have their names. For example I have "Rebecca Sinclair" next to the scripture that answered her prayer to know to be baptized.. So this week I went through and read a lot of my notes and scriptures that people have loved, it was so cool!
Sister Brienholt and I
There are many scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants which say that the Lord will give His servants (not just missionaries, but anyone who is trying to serve His children) what they need to say when they need it. It also says that what is said, if said by the Holy Ghost, is what He would say to them. Its a beautiful promise, one that has meant so much to me. I remember inviting a boy once to read the scriptures each day that week during a Family Home Evening lesson and afterward his father said "Don't you realize that when Sister Hamilton just invited you to read it wasn't her talking.. It was the Lord speaking through her?" It also reminds me of the first time I knew that I was really representing Jesus Christ, I even said "Hi! We're representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ.." at a door and the woman who answered said "You are!?" I shocked myself when I replied without hesitation "Ya! We are!" Knowing that truth has helped me so much and really helped me this week.
We were teaching a woman in the congregation named Tracy who has been going through a hard time with a recent divorce. She told us "Its fine. I know what you are saying, but what I really need is for the Lord to sit down next to me, give me a hug, and tell me it will be alright." I had another one of those shocking moments when I responded without hesitation "Well Tracy, why do you think He sent His representatives and missionaries to you?" Tears filled her eyes and I was able to tell her that I knew the Lord loved her and cares for her. That He knows what she's going through and wants her to let Him help. And to finish our visit, I gave her a hug. That hug was so sweet!
Here's the last thing I want to share from the week.. 1Nephi8 is Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life. Its one of my favorite chapters to study because each time I learn something new. Lately each time I read it I focus on the fruit of the tree representing the Sacrament. So.. I'm going to read 1Nephi8:11-12 to you replacing fruit for sacrament..
11 And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the [Sacrament] thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the [Sacrament] thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.
12 And as I partook of the [Sacrament] 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 [Sacraments]."
Can you imagine if each week we had that experience when we partook of the sacrament? If each week it filled our souls with "exceedingly great joy." White is a symbol of purity.. the Sacrament is pure of course, as it represents the sacrifice of the Savior. As I was thinking about this during our Sunday services I realized again that this is it.. I don't want people to come to church so I can tell President Wolfert on Monday that they came.. Its not so that the person speaking doesn't feel bad that no one showed up.. Its so they can feel exceedingly great joy. Its so they can have the possibility of being "purified, even as He is pure" as they are forgiven of the mistakes they have forsaken. Its so in that moment they can fulfill the commandment to "be ye therefore perfect." It so they can better align their will with the Father and continue to walk back to Him. Its honestly one of the greatest gifts we have.. that EACH WEEK we can come closer to the Savior. Each week can be a cleansing and baptizing experience. Then it hit me.. if I want that for everyone, I better be having it for myself.
I am so thankful for the blessing of the Sacrament and the promised blessings that follow when we partake of it worthily. I'm thankful that the Sacrament, or the fruit is what helps us to fully come to the tree, or the Love of God (1Nephi8). I hope and pray that all of us can have this experience that Nephi had when we partake of the Sacrament each week.
I know God loves us, and needs us to be His hands to those around us. They need to know of His love and care for them. So whenever you find yourself with some spare time.. do an act of service.. you'd be surprised how quickly it can make you happy to :)
I hope you don't mind me sharing some of the things I've learned with you. Have a great week! I love you!