This last week was pretty good. Sister Nielson and I are still working on finding those who are interested in learning more, so it's been a little bit slower lately, but is still going well.
We're still keeping in good touch with Beth and Amy, who will be baptized in only 2 weeks! This week we helped them clean their old home, studied the scriptures and continued lessons with them, and watched the LDS General Women's Broadcast with them (and with quite a few of the girls, Young Women, and women of the branch.) I am thrilled for Beth and Amy. It's been bewildering to see them grow and rely on the Savior and His Atonement over the past while, during both the good times and their storms of life. Although we are not teaching many people, I am amazed by their faith and example as they're pressing forward, clinging to the rod and holding fast to their faith that they have.
On Saturday, there was a New England Family History Conference at the church out in Franklin that Sister Nielson and I helped with. It turns out there were at least 50 members and 400 non-members who registered and came! People came from all over New England and attended workshops for all age groups. Our Stake is focusing on working on family history and taking names to the temple, as it seems that it is a greater focus for many members. It's awesome to see and to help others prepare for the temple and see individuals feel connected with their ancestors.
Speaking of which, I received an envelope from Aunt Florene on Thursday. Enclosed was a bunch of information on "the Mayflower Ancestry" through the Roy side. I never knew before I had several ancestors who boarded the Mayflower, including John Tilley, John Howland, and his wife Elizabeth. There were stories included on their adventurous lives that I never knew about. It's a cool opportunity to serve where they landed on the Mayflower, signed the Mayflower Compact, and fought for religious freedom. Ha-ha to be honest I was pretty stoked out of my mind to learn more about them and can hopefully as time goes on learn more about those I'm related to.
Also, I enjoyed the Women's Broadcast on Saturday night. As mentioned, we watched it at the church with many of the girls, youth and women of our Branch. The Broadcast was pretty different from what I expected it to be like, but I was touched to see the choir of girls and women of all ages singing together. I hope its main focus on how we're daughters of our loving Heavenly Father, and how we are to embrace our differences and strengths to lift and build up one another around the world strengthened many. It inspired me to do always strive to do better at reaching out and showing the Lord's love for others, as well as always staying true to the covenants I've made, both for now as the Lord's representative and also for the rest of my life.
Sister Nielson and I also had a great visit with Sister Blackwell from our branch. As we talked while we had dinner together, I cannot remember exactly what we were discussing, but she mentioned 2 top phrases she would always use for her children and family:
1. "Are you tearing down or building up?"
2. "Remember who you are and what you stand for."
I decided right then I will remember these wise words. Sometimes we may find ourselves tearing others down through negative thoughts, feelings, or words. At times we may even find ourselves thinking negatively of ourselves. Instead, we can seek what is wholesome and uplifting as we reach out to and build up one another, including those we don't know so well. We can hold onto the fact that we are Sons and Daughters of our loving Heavenly Father, and that we stand as His witnesses. We stand for our Savior who stands beside us, as He is our Redeemer and Advocate. There have been many twists and turns in life that can lead to disappointment. As for hastening the work, it may include an increasing amount of investigators not progressing, less people at church, or other things which are needless to mention. However, I know my Heavenly Father does not want me or other missionaries to feel discouraged as long as we're doing our best, as He is guiding His work along.
The other night I also came to a journal entry I wrote a while ago back in November, which had some occurrences very similar to what's happening now. And, of course, I wrote advice to myself that I needed the moment I read it again:
-Don't lose faith in the Lord and His timing.
-People have agency.
-Remember there are miracles we don't see.
-Think of all the things that are going well, even if they seem so small or insignificant.
-Growing doesn't come when we're in our comfort zones.
-Give your all, but then know that you're giving your all, and that's all the Lord expects.
This advice may not only be applied for other missionaries serving around the world (including the all-time hard worker I'm giving a shout out to--Elder Roy) when discouragement comes, but for anyone who may need a little boost. :) I know this upliftment was not from my own thoughts, but most definitely from the Lord to lift me up at that difficult time, so I find no problem in sharing it. And, not to mention, the journal entry after that one consisted of many miracles that took place, so as always, faith precedes miracles.
I love you all and want to hear from you! Tell me about your lives even if you think it will bore me!
P.S. #1 I cannot wait for General Conference.
P.S #2 It seems like Josh is using the scriptures from my letters each week in his letters. Just saying...jk, it just means they're good ones. :)