Where has the week gone. Another week has come and gone, and I have, not only been out for half of my mission now, but 9 months is slowly creeping down to only 8 months left. Can you believe it?!
My heart hurts and cringes whenever I see a plane passing over head, and the EVER SO familiar voice of my lovely companion, Sister Huang creeps into my mind, saying "That's going to be you on that plane in 8 months, or a year from today, you'd be home for 3 months already!" Ah! it blows my mind. I guess these thoughts are coming through my mind once again because changes on the mission always cause me to re-evaluate, and to self-reflect.
Speaking of change, President and Sister Clements are officially no longer "President" anymore (please keep them in your prayers as they continue to become associated to 'normal non missionary' lives). We have been blessed with a stalwart, faithfilled, proactive mission President, and a loving, joyful, steadfast President's wife for these last three years, or half of my mission. I cannot even imagine how it feels for them to see all the changes that have happened here in the last 3 years, and also how it feels to have loved, labored with, mentored, lead, admonished, and nurtured 700+ young sisters and elders. Their efforts and examples have definitely touched the lives of many and many more that will come after. They MUST have labored in the strength of the Lord, because I cannot simply imagine and believe that any person can do all that they did, by their own strength.
We are excited to be moving into another new era and experience of missionary work with the starts of getting to know our new mission president, President and Sister Forbes. We got to hold a mission prayer last night, and finally got to hear their voices. Without a doubt, they speak with the same authority and love, and bless their hearts, I cannot imagine how nerve racking it must be to be thrown into a calling where the welfare, spiritual and physical, questions, concerns, and etc. of 300 missionaries plus their investigators are all pretty much directed and dependant upon them. I would explode. Luckily and hence that is the reason of course that I am simply still a missionary who can focus on doing my part for the very least.
Yesterday at church, I was asked by a Young single adult, about how I felt I have changed on my mission, since I am now half way through.To be honest, I couldn't really give him much answers until I took some conscious effort to ponder upon that question. But as I took the time to evaluate, Sister Huang and I talk about how we literally do change every single day, and I see the fruits of what 9 months of dedicated missionary work can do to a person. This truly is the greatest one and a half year of my life. I have learnt how to plan, to organize my time, to be punctual, to be exactly obedient, to hold my tongue and temper even with the sun burning upon you, to turn the other cheek, to persevere, to trust, to love, to love OTHERS, to FOCUS on others, to be sensitive to others needs, to trust in the Lord, to replace FEAR with FAITH, to LOVE the Book of Mormon, to teach, and converse all in Chinese, to know how to study effectively, to LOVE people, to love TALKING to people (every person has a unique story), to recognize the Spirit, to never give up, the essence of hard work, and being hardworking, to look forward with faith, to be persistent and patient, and to be quick to observe.
Oh gosh, the list can go on foreverrrr! What would I have done without my mission. Well, I know for a fact that I definitely would've still been able to live happily, but oh how I would've limited myself on the blessings that Heavenly Father has in store for me. I realized here on my mission that although I was a pretty obedient member of the Church all growing up, I had placed limits on the Lord and My Heavenly Father on the things that they wanted to bless me with by not 'searching, pondering, praying' at all times, and daily from reading the scriptures, from not fully understanding my Savior and His infinite Atonement, from not even fully understanding my baptismal covenants! My life was colorful in the past in the Gospel, but because of my mission, I can say that it is 10 shades and 10 times more colorful and vibrant these days. (This connects with Minnesota too I think. Something that puts me to awe is how just whenever I think that Summer's in Minnesota cannot get any greener, a huge thunderstorm washes over, and I swear, all the green around me just gets 10 times more colorful and vibrant!)
Each day and week I have a renewed desire to learn something new, to work a little harder, to not give up. I love that I get to tap into more of my Heavenly Father's wisdom and power, as I pray always, as I spend more time on my knees praying, and then as I get up and get to work.
Along with prayers, I have learnt and gain a testimony of the power of fasting. Don't let that commandment go to waste! A fast of gratitude brough me greater strength and the power of God truly was manifested. "therefore they gave thanks unto the Lord their God; yea, and they did fast much and pray much, and they did worship God with exceedingly great joy." That is how I feel at the end of this past week.
Fam, all I can say is that my eyes, heart, and mind, have been opened to so many greater wonders and awe of this world we live in, of the eternal and infinite Atonement of Christ, the Savior of all mankind, of our purpose and roles here in life, of our relationship with every living soul here on earth (people seriously! get off your phones and electronics, and for once travel on the streets and TALK to people, have PHYSICAL SOCIAL CONTACTS!), and of what gratitude means towards my family, towards those that support me, but most importantly towards my Heavenly Father.
I LOVE YOU ALL!
PEACE AND BLESSINGS,