This week has been a wonderful one! So this week has also been a week shorter than normal "weeks" because my Preparation Day was Wednesday last week, and now it is on Tuesdays. Please bear with me if this email is shorter, I will try to include as much information and make this as interesting as I can! :)
So on Thursday, Sister Morales and I had our first full day serving at Historic Carthage Jail. I feel kind of weird if I don't put 'Historic' in front of it, because it is not a jail anymore, but anyways it is a great thing. I love being able to serve there, and to meet the people that come. I must be meant to serve my Mission in Areas that have a high concentration of active members. First, I thought Nauvoo had a lot of members, but at least there was the occasional biker gang that would come through. Then, I was in Rexburg, aka the highest concentration of LDS people in the world, now I am in Carthage Jail, and since it is not very well advertised we don't really get any non-members. Anyways, I an anxious to learn what Heavenly Father is trying to teach me :) Maybe getting along well with others? Haha I just don't know! Anyways, Carthage truly is a great place to serve. I also love it because my companion, Sister Morales is more than happy to get up early to work out with me. Turns out in high school she did cross country, soccer, and was a cheerleader! To add to that awesomeness, she was in a Police Training Academy growing up for 7 years. Then the cherry on top, is that she makes really good Mexican food. She is perfect!
Training in a Visitor's Center is a lot different than Training in a regular Mission. Normally, we have this booklet called 12-week, where you have twelve extra weeks of training that continues what they learned in the MTC. Well, it is geared for a normal Mission, and we are also told to do it all in half the time. Yikes! But I try to do my best, and I definitely push my greenie. I can already tell that I take it more seriously than some other sisters, because I am constantly grabbing the portable DVD player to watch The District and we are constantly role-playing, but I think it is because I have seen how needed it is. I want to give Sister Morales the best opportunity to succeed, and goodness gracious I will do my best!
One of the things I love most about my Mission President is his focus on teaching doctrine. We don't teach applications or principles, but doctrine. Doctrine is what can change people's lives, and can give us the tools to succeed. I love it because it reinforces what I have been learning about Agency and Faith. Because of President Gibbon's emphasis for us as Missionaries, I took the challenge and the first time I was asked to speak, I taught doctrine. It was a bit different to take that focus, because it will be a different talk than what most are used to hearing or giving in a setting like church or a fireside. My first opportunity to teach was last Sunday. I was asked to speak with a group of Sisters in a Sociable, or Fireside where we report our experiences we had on our Outbound.
I was the fourth out of six speakers. I had studied and created an outline for what I wanted to say, and was just going to go up there and listen to the Spirit with nothing but my scriptures. I started to get a little bit nervous though, because all of the other Sisters told stories during their time, and I guess a little part of me was a bit scared to be different. But I trusted in the Lord, because I knew that I had felt peace concerning my topic and so I pressed on. I talked about the power of goal-setting and planning, and challenged the Senior Missionaries to set a goal and choose a day that they wanted to have a missionary experience by. I promised them that as they did this, Heavenly Father would have a greater amount of trust in them and reward them for their diligence.
As a result of my talk, I want to share a story with you that a sweet Senior Sister told me. Last week I was in the Family Living Center, and one of my favorite Senior Missionaries, Sister Mayne pulled me aside saying, "It worked! It worked!" I thought it was cute how excited she was, so I replied, "That is wonderful! May I ask what worked Sister Mayne?" She laughed, and then proceeded to explain her experience. It pertained to the talk and challenge I gave at the Young Sister Missionary Sociable the previous Sunday. After the Sociable, Sister Mayne decided to set a goal to have a "missionary conversation" that week. As the week went by, she said that nothing came, until the day that she was narrating the story on the Wagon Ride. She thought that no one would talk to her afterwards that day, but that particular afternoon held a surprise for Sister Mayne. A young gentleman who had been excommunicated from the Church was touched by Sister Mayne's testimony, and talked to her for an hour after the ride had ended. Sister Mayne was so excited by the success, and has now made the decision to continue to set goals for doing missionary work.
From listening to Sister Mayne's story, I now see the power that comes from teaching doctrine. It enables these missionaries to become agents, and to "act for themselves and not to be acted upon", to quote 2 Nephi. I am so humbled to see the hand of the Lord in my life, and to have him teach me so much. I just hope that I am able to be easily molded into the person he wants me to be!
On Thursday night, we met with President and Sister Gibbons in the Mission Home and were extended callings. The 'normal' callings are Pageant Coordinators, Call Center Director, Carthage Group Leader, Music Director, Sociable (Fireside) Director, and.... I think that might be it. Well, there were a lot of returning Sisters this year, so they kind of made up some callings to give everyone a job, and to try to help out the Assistants. It is great, it was just kind of funny when I was given the calling of being the Scripture Director. No really, that is my calling! My calling is to help the Sisters gain a better knowledge of Doctrine and the scriptures. I will be given time at every training to speak for ten minutes about a passage of scripture, and President Gibbons told me that if I saw anything else that could apply to my calling, I could do it. To be quite honest at first I was not thrilled. Now don't get me wrong- I am now grateful to be given a calling, but I felt like I was going to be more of a burden and given this job almost as a "pity calling". I truly felt I would rather just be given nothing, rather than a position to try to make me feel useful or needed. But, as the days have gone by, my opinion and attitude has changed for the better. President Gibbons is so wonderful, and I will try to help him the best I can. I have a few ideas up my sleeve on how I think I can help the Mission within my calling,
I am excited to serve! If any of my ideas work out, I will tell you next week. I just don't want to put anything down and not have it be what the Lord wants, so you can just stay tuned :)
You know, I wish I had more to say, but I really don't! Easter Sunday was wonderful, and I hope everyone had a great time. I had the opportunity to serve at the Lucy Mack Smith home that day, and it was great to be able to focus on the Savior and Mother Smith's devotion to him.
I hope you all have a great week! Love ya!