Wow, can anyone else believe that I've been out for 7 months? I sure can/can't. Haha. Sometimes the time flies, sometimes it drags. But it surely has been marvelous thus far.
This week has been mucho better than last week! Our area is still slow at this point, but we are striving to do our best and to help the work pick up. While we were on exchanges last week, I got a little bit of insight as to success. Sister Christmas and I were discussing success and all that. She pointed me to Jacob 5 - the beloved allegory of the olive tree. I'll paste some of the verses in here, then briefly discuss them.
70 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants; and they were few.
71 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.
72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.
74 And thus they labored, with all diligence, according to the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even until the bad had been cast away out of the vineyard, and the Lord had preserved unto himself that the trees had become again the natural fruit;
76 For behold, for a long time will I lay up of the fruit of my vineyard unto mine own self against the season, which speedily cometh; and for the last time have I nourished my vineyard, and pruned it, and dug about it, and dunged it; wherefore I will lay up unto mine own self of the fruit, for a long time, according to that which I have spoken.
Okay, you are probably thinking: why are you sharing Jacob 5? Well, this is why.
I am one of the few servants of the vineyard at this time. Yes, there are a lot of missionaries, but compared to the population of the world, there aren't that many of us.
I have been commanded to labor with my might. Somedays this is easier than others. But it's when I do that I find the most happiness. It goes on to say that if I labor with the Lord of the vineyard, the Savior, that's when my joy will come. I must be diligent and keep the commands, but the joy will come.
Lastly, the Lord of the Vineyard continually says, I will lay up the fruit unto myself. The fruit, or success, isn't mine to freely have. It is Jesus Christ's. My laboring in the vineyard isn't for my own benefit. It's the Lord. In hymn 243 Let Us All Press On, this point is illustrated again.
1. Let us all press on in the work of the Lord,
That when life is o'er we may gain a reward;
In the fight for right let us wield a sword,
The mighty sword of truth.
2.We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few
When compared with the opposite host in view;
But an unseen pow'r will aid me and you
In the glorious cause of truth.
This isn't the work of Sister Gilbert. It's the work of the Lord.
Anyway, this week has been nice.
Another really good visit with MI and her daughter KA. We had Stake Conference this weekend, and after the adult session of Saturday night, President Sant (our stake president) came up to us and told us that he had been on a rescue visit to the this family earlier that day. They told him that we had been meeting with them and they were very grateful for us spending time teaching them the gospel and helping them rebuild their testimonies. President Sant also expressed his gratitude for us in being in their home and going to their rescue. It was one of those moments when your hard work pays off.
Thursday we had interviews and training. It was a wonderful, wonderful meeting! Oh how I love being with President Taylor. At one point in one of the trainings that the assistants were giving, there was an activity that Sister Parkinson had to give me a piggy back ride across the gym. Yes, we were wearing skirts. It was hilarious. But we talked about how we can truly help lift those around us.
Friday was the day of MIGHTY MIRACLES. First and foremost, Sister Parkinson, BR, and myself finally found Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups at the Dollar General in Big Sandy. I highly encourage you to find some and partake of the goodness.... haha.
Second, our appointment canceled, so we decided to decorate her door with streamers and balloons and a card to show her that we love her. She ended up texting us later that night telling us that it really made her day, and helped her realize that people love her and are watching out for her.
Third mighty miracle: So, as a mission, we are trying to extend 40,000 invitations for people to learn about the Book of Mormon for the month of January. Talk about a lot. So, we were behind pace, so each companionship was invited to invite 23 people everyday. Sister Parkinson and I nearly perished when we heard this. A good contacting day for us is 5 people. There was literally no way. But lo and behold, our marvelous sister training leader called us and told us that her and our companion were going to help us and pick up the contacts that we were unable to get. She challenged us to get 13 contacts a day (still a big push) and that they would cover the other 10. I definitely learned a lesson of humility and even of the Atonement with that experience. Oh how grateful I was. Well, Sister Parkinson and I prayed fervently and sincerely and very hard that we'd be able to do so. In Big Sandy, we got 5 contacts and were feeling pretty good. So after our adventure with BR, we went to town to try to go contact more people. We had 1.5 hours before our next appointment, so we selected a street and started knocking. We needed to get 8 more contacts. We had been contacting in this part of our area before at the same time of day and got about 5 contacts, so we were hoping for a miracle. Well, let me just tell you. The windows of heaven opened! We were blessed to have 20 more contacts in that 1.5 hours giving us a total of 25 contacts for the day!!!!! Oh my, I was so humbled. What a miracle and what a faith builder.
Saturday we were also able to contact 15 people. Oh, the windows were opened. We still have a lot of work to do, but we are trying diligently. We haven't gotten new investigators from these activities yet, but we are feeling rejuvinated and ready to go .
Stake conference was wonderful as well. President and Sister Taylor came out for it, and oh it was delightful to see them.
Oh how blessed I am.
I want to testify of the Book of Mormon. There is power in its pages. It contains the fulness of the gospel. I know that we all can receive peace, comfort, knowledge, and answers as we diligently study it's pages.
How thankful I am for the gospel. It's truly shaped me into the woman that I am today.
I love you!