MARCH 17, 2014
Kelsie's Letter to her mission president:
Well, this week was perhaps the single hardest week of my mission. At the same time I have never seen a week so full of miracles. I testify that God gives us hardships so that He can bless us more abundantly. All we need to do is do our best to push through and live with no regrets, and then God will consecrate our sacrifice to our benefit tenfold.
This week has been so hard for about a million reasons. My uncle's passing, my trainer leaving me with her area, Sister Organista leaving (that's two hardships in one, she's such a great companion on top of being a fantastic trainer), working with three different companions in one week, trying to help my new companion learn the area as fast as possible... But we are determined to figure it out!
Sister Organista is very reserved, and I realized since being with Sister VanWie that I only talked when Sister Organista and I were outside with people! We pretty much never talked in the apartment or in the car unless it was absolutely necessary. She's just really quiet, it wasn't like we fought all the time. I actually started losing my voice the past few days from such a dramatic increase of talking. I can just talk to my companion now! It's great! I hadn't realized just how lonely I was getting. I'm also repeating in my mind "I am a representative of Jesus Christ" a lot through out the day, and just saying that over and over in my mind helps me a lot! Again, I'm sorry, and I just hope you know that each of us are doing everything in our control and we are taking this extremely seriously. I'm starting another Purification Challenge after dinner tonight as well. I'm not going to let you down President!
As far as other miracles I've seen this week... Lupe got baptized last Sunday! Sister Gneiting and I had an AMAZING day Tuesday as we were together waiting for Wednesday transfers. She inspired me so much to Talk with Everyone! She is just so happy and sweet, I learned sooooo much from her Tuesday! We also found two GOLDEN new investigators that Sister VanWie and I are going to see tomorrow. So excited. Then I met Sister VanWie and it was pretty much love at first sight. We are very similar in a lot of ways. She is also AMAZING at giving constructive correction. She just tells me straight up when she thinks there is a problem but somehow does it in a very loving way and it's just so great. She's so obedient and she loves to work hard. She also loves to try out new ideas! That's so awesome. Sister Organista loved to stick to tried and true, and I had some ideas of new things that she wasn't excited about because she didn't like change. Sister VanWie is all about trying new things and leaving yesterday behind for a better tomorrow! It's just been a fun change. I still miss Sister Organista a lot though. The whole ward does, and so do our investigators.
This week we had an amazing few breakthroughs with a part member family. The Bontragers. They are fairly newly married, in their 30's. She is a member that is trying to reactivate herself. She and I have become good friends in the time I have been here. Her husband is a firefighter, he's very stubborn and pretty shy. Well, my dad is a firefighter, and I'm pretty stubborn, and I'm pretty good at pulling people out of their shells. So we started officially teaching him Friday night. We were supposed to a week and a half earlier, but things had fallen apart. Anyways, after dinner Friday I talked to Sister VanWie for about an hour, and I started crying from an exhausting week/mission. It was really hard. She was extremely supportive. I new we needed to get out and get at least one more lesson done that night. So I said a prayer in my head and started a fast, and then I glanced down at my planner and saw the Bontragers' name. They were a back up plan, but I just knew that was where we needed to go. So we went. I explained the situation to Sister VanWie and said "This lesson needs to be perfect if we are going to teach again. Also, I prepared for Lesson 1, but we need to teach Lesson 2." I just felt that was what was right. Also, they just happened to be both home, which never happens. So we went and President, the lesson indeed was perfect. The Spirit was so strong and that man just opened up. Sister Bontrager was great too, just being so loving and supportive and not pushing him.... it was amazing. I invited him to be baptized and we were able to set a date for April 20th. For a man who wasn't planning on being baptized for several years if ever. We also set a return date for Sunday night. Well Sunday just Sister Bontrager came to me and expressed concern that we were pushing too hard. So we talked about it, and we decided to be a little bit softer. But we went Sunday night and had a fantastic lesson on the Restoration (instead of finishing Lesson 2, we had to follow the Spirit and teach Lesson 1) and by the end he said that he had a desire to know if the Book of Mormon was true or not. It was just great. We're going back on Wednesday. President, I know for a fact that I personally was sent to this man. Without my background with a fireman's life and the fact that I am a sister missionary, I don't think we would have been able to teach him. But he is moving right along. It was really hard growing up with a firefighter, because my dad was gone for 24 hour shifts every other day. But that experience is helping me to unite a family and hopefully bring them to the temple. I wouldn't trade my dad being a firefighter for the world, or any other challenging experiences I've had because it makes me me, and sometimes that's the only person that can help a specific child of God.
I know this church is true. I've had a lot of great experiences Teaching People, Not Lessons this week. I am feeling strong after a very hard week. I feel peace in knowing that Heavenly Father knows my weaknesses and that I am here for a reason. He also knows my strengths and is helping me to become stronger every day. I love Him so much, and I know that He knows I would do anything for Him. He has my whole heart.