This past week has been wonderful! Sister Mills and I have both enjoyed the last week of Pageant. I think that I truly have come to know and experience the strengthening power of the Atonement, and also receiving help from on high to cover my own inadequacies.
The last week of Pageant is always a test of enduring to the end, spiritually and physically. It can be quite spiritually exhaustive to use the Spirit to discern over 40 people's needs every day, the average amount of lessons I have, and each one you strive to have a genuine connection with, t feel the spirit and to uplift them, and to remain mentally focused at all times. However, I know that there are plenty of resources that the Savior has given us to strengthen us. While I have been on my Mission, my testimony of how to apply and utilize the Atonement has grown. During my first few weeks on my Mission I heard missionaries throwing around the 'strengthening', or 'healing' power of the Atonement, to which I just did not quite understand. I had always known the "facts" of the Atonement- Jesus Christ's Suffering, death, and resurrection, and because he suffered for our sins we can come to live with Heavenly Father again. That was it; that was what I knew the Atonement of Jesus Christ to be. Now, I have come to know that the Atonement truly is infinite- to quote the phrase used by Tad R. Callister. I am actually quite looking forward to reading that book when I get home so that I can learn even more from such a great teacher as President Callister. I now know that because of Christ's suffering, and undergoing any and every emotion we ever will or have experienced, we can be strengthened. That is his role, and his mission. The Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Messiah of the New, He is here to help and to strengthen us. As I have come to know more about my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, I have also now been able to apply it in my life. This past week when I was too tired to stand for one more moment, when it was too exhaustive to have to be happy and talk to yet another guest, too drained to be rejected yet again by a member of our own Church, I have come to rely on my Savior. I can make the conscious decision that I do not need to give in to my weaknesses, to know that I have at my disposal, powers from on high to strengthen me, and to help me to endure. I can say that silent prayer, and give my troubles to the Lord, and press on.
I have done exactly that, and I have had my own testimony further strengthened because I have felt the relief. I have felt the comfort, the strength. I will forever be grateful for this time I have to be able to be in the service of the Lord, and to have received revelation for my life and my salvation.
Very breifly, I will tell you about an experience I had on Saturday at Nauvoo on the Road being at Thresher Days in Hamilton, IL. It had been a long day, and as our time at the festival was drawing to a close, a woman and her grandchild came up to the booth. Her grandson started to play with the toys. I talked with the woman, and found out that she was here for the weekend, visiting from Missouri. She also was Jehovah's Witness, and mentioned that she would have to study the lesson that next day because she would be driving back home and would miss her church service. We started talking about other things, and I was thinking to myself how much I admired that woman for being so faithful in her devotion to Christ. Suddenly I remembered what you had shared from, I believe it was President Nelson. President Nelson had told us that we need to envision people in white, to envision the end goal of baptism and then to be sealed in the temple. At that moment, when that thought flickered through my mind, I could see that woman in white. It was such an incredible experience, and I felt a true and genuine love for her. I then made the decision that I would share the Gospel with her because of my love for her, instead of a sense of duty. We talked some more, and I even invited her to come to Nauvoo and to go to Church with us. As soon as I was telling her where the building was, she was pulled away and I could not find her again. Now, while some might see this as disheartening, I still think of it as significant. I know that one day she will find the truth, and what I experienced will forever change me. Since I have "caught the vision", I now want to have that experience all the time, and with everyone! My desire to share the Gospel has always been motivated by love, but now I feel like I have refocused on my purpose and re-centered my desires. I will strive to be in tune with the Spirit to be guided to people who need to be lifted.
It is sad, but peaceful as Pageant comes to a close. Some people mourn the passing of the busy season, but I keep my peace because I know that everything has a time and a season. I am so grateful for the chance I had to be involved with the British Pageant, and to be able to come up at the end of the show and sing with my fellow missionaries, "Called to Serve" and "Redeemer of Israel". This past Friday night was just a sweet experience. I had been interpreting the whole British Pageant for some deaf guests, and Sister Hughes (my companion for the night) decided that she would stay and interpret the last two songs and I would go up with Sister Mills and sing in the Missionary Choir. It was a little bit nerve-racking, because I had to get up at just the right moment when the missionaries were passing by or I would miss the cue. So, I literally interpreted to the very last moment, and right as Sister Mills passed by me, the man I was "being" I guess you could say, finished his line and I just stood up and joined my companion. As we got on stage, and sang I could not help but have tears come to my eyes because of how overwhelmed I was by the Spirit, and knowing that this is why I am here. I am here because of my love for my Heavenly Father, my Savior, and to bring my fellow brothers and sisters to Christ. As everyone sang the final lines, "Our King, our Deliverer our All!", I can truly say I felt my soul just leap for joy! Joy comes through trials, and because of those trials we can experience that true happiness. Well, trials are inherent to this life, but I can have the choice to be happy. And I am!
I love you all, and hope you have a great week :)