It’s been another amazing week on Temple Square! I am finally getting used to some things here and figuring out what I am doing. It’s been really interesting having a new companion. We get along really well and I am so grateful that she is this laid back Californian (but still super obedient to the mission rules and all that). I really need that with my perfectionist personality. We balance each other out well. She is a really great teacher and loves giving lessons. She could give lessons in her sleep…and she does. I wake up in the middle of almost every night to her inviting people to be baptized or to give the closing prayer. I find it hilarious. I’m happy to know that she is so focused on the work. It would really creep me out except for the fact that Sister Hodgkin did the exact same thing in the MTC. Its really weird that I keep getting the companions that always sleep talk.
All of the first transfer sisters get to have an explorer day where we can just explore the square and the nearby church buildings to become more familiar with them. We split our day between Friday and Monday. On Friday, we went to the Beehive House first. The place is seriously huge and we were able to go look at the floors that are closed off to the public. It was fun to look around the building but it was really creepy to be honest. Next, we went to the 20-somethingith floor of the church office buildings. They have a lookout and we had someone tell us what everything is. That was followed by the Relief Society building and the Conference Center. I loved all of the history and stories and art, it was so great! But, that was more than half of our day and I wanted to do missionary work so we decided to call it quits at that point. On Sunday, we got to go to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. A local student ward filled in for us so we could go watch it. It was so amazing to hear the prophet speak in person. Anyone who hasn’t had a chance to watch/hear it yet, I highly recommend it.
Perhaps the most important thing that I have learned this week is that my mission truly has little to do with where I am sent but what I choose to do. I have prayed several times to know that I am where I need to be and I know that my mission call has come from a prophet of God. However, my success as a missionary is entirely up to me. I know that there a few unique aspects to my mission but, just like any other mission, it is all about what I make it. I have the choice to give everything, to be completely consecrated to the work and to go home every night exhausted. We do the same work that any other mission does, just with amazing resources. I have been set apart for a specific purpose . I have learned through so many experiences this week that my life has so little to do with my circumstances and everything to do with decisions.
A few days ago, I was feeling really frustrated. No one would answer their phones in the teaching center for me to teach them. I had set up appointments and not one person kept their appointments that day and I think I was a magnet for anti’s that day because they kept talking to me. I was feeling a little discouraged to say the least but I kept on going. As Sister Ibarra and I were walking through the North Visitor’s Center, we came across a couple. The woman looked a little confused so we asked her if she had any questions. She told us she wasn’t a member of the church and that she wanted to know about our beliefs. I got really excited and started to ask her some questions. It turned out, she was only there to argue with the sisters here (a lot of people come and do that for some reason). After about 10 minutes of that, a man came over. He said that he had been listening to the entire conversation and that he wanted to bear his testimony to this couple. It was one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard. His son had died earlier that week and that his family is going through such a hard time but that he feels so much peace because he knows that he will see his son again. My paraphrasing can’t do his testimony any justice, it was so powerful and moving. I started to cry, of course. He walked away and we quickly ended this conversation with the couple because it began to make us really uncomfortable. We found the man and talked to him for a few minutes. His faith despite such a difficult circumstance astounded me. I could feel from his words that he knew without a doubt that what he was saying was true. If this man can have such faith and confidence while going through something like that, then I can keep going without getting discouraged. It was a miracle that I needed at that exact moment. Despite whatever circumstances I come across, I want my faith to be like that man’s.
We had another great experience on Sunday. Sister Ibarrra and I had been fasting that day for two baptisms for this transfer and it was nearing the time for us to break our fast. We were walking outside when a man came up to us. We ended up talking with him for an hour and a half. He was so open to learning. We took him to every building (which never happens) taught him about the restoration of the gospel and gave him a Book of Mormon. Also, he wanted to continue to talk with us so we have an appointment this week. It was just such a great experience and I am excited to continue to teach him.
There is a saying here that miracles happen everyday on Temple Square. I thought is sounded kind of cheesy when I first heard it but then I started to see it and it is so true. Every single day, something miraculous happens! This is completely the Lord’s work!