Hola mi familia...
First off, kudos to Jill and family for the package! I haven't opened it yet, but I will first thing when I get home! It was such a fun surprise!
I don't have very much time, but this week was rather...difficult. You know those weeks when you work so so so so hard and then you fast, and you have faith because you worked hard and want to see the fruits of your labors? And then Sunday comes along and drops a bomb on you...the lowest attendance in 13 years. Sigh. We were really depressed on Sunday, but after church we worked and worked again, and we had an amazing lesson with the wife of our bishop, who is inactive and didn't want to meet with us, but we had an awesome lesson on the importance of temple covenants and how when we keep our covenants, we can help our children in this life and the next.
This week, I learned three different lessons. They really hit me hard and will stick with me forever.
Lesson 1 - People have their agency. Dumb. We can work as hard as we can and have the Spirit in lessons, but the people still have their freedom of choice. Agency is such an important part of the plan of our Heavenly Father, but sometimes it just stinks. Blast.
Lesson 2 - We are happy when we know that we have done our best. There is nothing better than the feeling of working, working, working, and even when you can't see the immediate blessings, you know they are there because you know that, even though you aren't perfect, our Heavenly Father is there to make up the difference with His perfect grace and mercy.
Lesson 3 - Do NOT, under ANY circumstances eat week-old cow tongue. It will make you sicker than a dog. We ate at a member’s house on Thursday, and I had tried the cow tongue the last week, and she had it again, and I was like...well, might as well, because never again am I going to be able to do it. What I didn't realize was that it was the same cow tongue from last week. It was bad. So, when this situation comes up in your life, have the strength to say NO. :)
Sometimes, it is hard to get up and leave the air-conditioned room, but I think I am getting better at being positive. My patriarchal blessing helped me a lot too. It says that a lot of things that I will do here on the earth are the same things over and over again, but that I need to do the best I can every day in order to accomplish that which the Lord has for me. So, that is my goal. Work hard every day, because The Lord has blessings and because I love Him and am grateful to Him for all that I have.
Mom and Dad, every day I thank my Heavenly Father for you and your examples of...awesomeness. Seriously. I don't know what I did to deserve you. I look at all of the people who don't fulfill their callings, who don't go to the temple, who don't pay their tithing, and their lives are so sad and hard. But I have your examples to lean on, and to remember that when I do these things, I will be okay. You are so amazing. Even when I don't want to work, even when I am so tired I just want to sleep next to the drunk man on the sidewalk, I can pray to Heavenly Father and He will give me the strength that I need to work. When we are obedient as servants of the Lord, we have power. Power and authority.
Mom, I think that is a great idea for new beginnings (to ask returned missionaries to write their testimonies, then have the YW read them). Really, we are working with a lot of girls here on their personal progress. Personal progress has helped me to develop a love for the scriptures and how we can apply them in our lives. Really, Personal Progress has helped me to develop my testimony. When we do our personal progress, we are showing our Heavenly Father that we want to learn how to be better moms, daughters, and servants of God. Personal Progress isn't about the leaders, or the ribbons or the medallion; it is about the girls and how they can better develop the values in the theme, and really how they can better their relationship with God. Personal Progress helped me to realize that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us, and we can show Him that we love Him when we do our Personal Progress. Also, service in the presidencies helped me to gain a love for the other girls, and to recognize the blessings that come from unselfish service.
We are excited to start another week, and work hard so that we can be useful servants of the Lord. I love you all and I hope you have a good week!