This last week was…well it was one of those weeks but it's all good now. I won't go into much detail, but the virus I must have caught at Boston Children's only progressed, so I was out for most of the week. We attempted to do exchanges with the Longfellow Park Sisters again, but while I was there they had an over-booked schedule so I was running much faster than I had strength when there was literally no time to exchange back. I ended up getting a blessing for comfort after Saturday's blessing for healing seemed to take no effect. It most certainly brought hope and assurance, and gave me a greater idea how last week was to make me spiritually stronger. For the remainder of the week I was at our apartment with Sister Platt, and then Sister Jones and I went on splits where I was at our member Sister Pritchett's home after District Meeting on Friday for the rest of the day. I was feeling much better on Saturday, even though my lungs took the toll, but soon enough they recovered.
So yes, it was a little rough of a week, especially wanting to finish strong while seeing other missionaries leaving soon sprint to their finish line. Somehow CF took over, limiting what I could do temporarily. However, I could not deny the presence of my almighty Father in Heaven by my side. He continues to help me cross the finish line. Our ways are not His ways, as His plan is greater than we can imagine or anticipate with our own short vision. I was reminded how my own personal efforts are at times limited with physical limitations, but my loving Heavenly Father's upholding power is not. I bear witness that He is mine, and I am His. We are one, as He is helping me finish strong in the ways He sees important.
There were some neat experiences that happened this week though which I am grateful for:
On Tuesday while on exchanges with Sister Blair, even though I was still in anticipation to take time to recover, I was able to be part of the lesson for Alex--Kyle's friend he introduced to the church. It was so neat--Alex's friend John, who attends the Longfellow Park Singles Ward where Alex was to go to--invited him to take the lessons. John had a remarkable experience where he literally just decided to walk into the church a few weeks back and felt it was right, so he wanted to take the discussions and share the joy he was feeling with Alex. Alex, however, was approached by missionaries in the past who gave him a mormon.org card which he lost, so later on he was introduced by Kyle who was being taught by us, then by John who just had this miraculous experience. Our lesson with Alex was indescribable as we taught (my favorite to teach) the Restoration. He was ready to learn more. He was ready for change in His life and to do what it takes to become closer to the Lord.
Later in the week on Saturday, Sister Jones and I were able to talk to John and Alex, who Kyle brought, at our ward Thanksgiving feast (I was feeling much better by then to be able to attend.) Kyle bore his testimony on certain matters that we discussed together as we answered questions they had. It's been so neat to see Kyle sharing the gospel and being a remarkable influence through his lasting conversion. Even though John and Alex aren't in our ward, it's incredible to see them progress with their pure desires to become new.
We are seeing GREAT miracles happening here in the Massachusetts Boston Mission in November. As President Packard updated the progress to Elder Lawrence just yesterday, we are "Working like everything depends on us and praying like everything depends on the Lord." Today the 64th baptism for this month will take place. We have 45 dates set for this final weekend, so we are anticipating to reach over 70. If we even reach 75% then we will be in the triple digits. The reason there are so many numbers involved is because each number is an individual having spiritual experiences, pressing forward in faith with a steadfastness in Christ, committing and covenanting to live and press forward according to His ways and receive all that He has in return.
In all honesty, it feels unreal that the time for this full-time mission is coming to a close so soon. Yesterday I had my final interview with President Packard. It came much sooner than I anticipated, since there are (31?) of us leaving the same day next week so it would be hard to interview all the same day. He decided last week to spread us out during his routinely every-other-transer interviews. I was nervous at first as I wasn't sure what to expect, but it went wonderfully, as the interviews I've had with President Packard have always been meaningful and fulfilling. I couldn't help coming out of of yesterdays feeling more whole, hopeful, and genuinely loved, as I always have after them. I cannot express in words how grateful I am to have learned all that I have from him. I couldn't have been more blessed to have him as my mission president.
As Thanksgiving is this week, I echo a few of the words Ammon carried to his people in Alma 26, as this is what we discussed in our Mission WebEx this morning…
(2) "And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?...
(3)"We have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work….
(8) "Blessed be the name of our God, let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever…
(16) "Who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part of which I feel."
When people will ask, "How was your mission?" or "What did you learn?" etc, as many returned missionaries can relate, the response will probably be " It was great" or "I learned a lot." As Ammon stated, "I cannot say even the smallest part of which I feel." It's impossible to explain the miracles I and the rest of this mission have witnessed, whether it be through moments of feeling God's confirming love and comfort, forgiveness and grace. Whether it be in front of the waters of baptism for someone taking on the name of Christ. There's the moment of being surrounded by 25 recent converts from all backgrounds and all races, crowded at the temple baptistry with family names for their first time.
There's also the penetrating experiences through the power of the spirit, all from being in a lesson to soaking in the impressions amidst the pin-dropping silence after the conference with Elder Holland. Then there's seeing investigators or recent coverts come together, sharing the gospel with each other from the lasting joy and conversion they feel and experience. Then there's the times following difficulty, seeing members come together with us, collaborating in what's no longer, as I like to put it "missionary work" but "the Lord's work." There's so much more I can expound on, but I'll just say, as Ammon had stated to his "beloved brethren, who have so dearly beloved (them)" that "my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy…this is my joy and my great thanksgiving, and I will give thanks unto my God forever" for the experiences that have taken place and will yet take place will doing all that I can to live in full consecration to the Lord in years to come.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Continue to pour out thanks to the Lord. As we lay down all that we have, as he has to offer us all that He has, we will continue to experience His joy and Thanksgiving.
I love you!