But firstly, let me say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beautiful cousin, Laura! I love you Laura dear! I miss our cousin dinners together, and can't wait to make some great Chinese food for you and Thomas when I get home :)
Thank you so so so so much for the package! The dresses fit perfectly, and I got so many compliments on my black and white one yesterday at church! Pam, you are a miracle worker!
Does Krispy Kreme deliver? (Thanks Tinah!)
New dress and New Elders from Poquoson Ward...Nick Hansen and Tyler Camarena
Official Travel Docutments
Elder Morton: Tai Jimuih, haven't you ever run barefoot in the grass before?
Tai Jimuih: Yes.
Elder Morton: Isn't it great?
Tai Jimuih: No.
Elder Morton: With the dew? And the fresh-cut grass? And the butterflies?
Tai Jimuih: No.
Elder Morton (looking at our salads): How can you even eat that? Much less enjoy it? It reminds me of the scene in Ice Age where the animals don't have any food, so Sid picks up the pinecone, crunches on it, and says, "Mmmm, pinecone."
Elder Bishoff and Elder Howard--Zone Leaders
Another set of miracles that I've seen this week reminds me of a scripture from 2 Nephi 4:20. Nephi writes, "My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep." I love that image; God leads us through our afflictions. He doesn't always take them away, because those trials are essential to give us experience and help us grow. But he doesn't leave us alone. He guides me through every day, and I've seen how he is guiding those around me as well.
This was my last week as coordinating sister, and let me tell you, that was the most miraculous calling I've ever had. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to care for and help those sisters. There were moments when I was standing there comforting a sobbing sister, and praying in my head, "Heavenly Father, what in the world can I do?" And I opened my mouth, and something came out. It wasn't me; it was a power so much greater than me. And two weeks later that same sister, the sister who was emotionally harrowed up and completely broken, told me that the trials that she's experienced here (and let me tell you, they were harder than anything I've ever faced) were the best thing that ever happened to her. She could never be the missionary she is now without them. That is the Atonement: the power to change and to become infinitely stronger through Christ.
Yesterday in Relief Society, (women's meeting at church) our guest speaker told us how the death of her 8 year old son broke her. And then saved her. It brought her to Christ in a way that nothing else could. Later that night, one of the elders inanother district lost his grandmother. At the same time, another sister was struggling with some incredible emotional burdens. And I saw both of those missionaries pick themselves up today. They're still struggling, and will keep struggling. But they are letting their trials humble them, shape them, and make them more like Christ. Christ suffered more than any of us, and he knows how to comfort us and to save us. We just have to let him do it. And that's why I'm serving this mission, because people need to hear this message. The word 'gospel' means 'good news.' And this is the best news heaven has to offer!