Hellllloooooooooooo dear family and friends in the greater Salt Lake area, Kansas, and beyond!!! This is my LAST email can you believe it? I SURE CAN'T!!
And WOW there is much to report for this past week. Bear with me, I'm putting every ounce I can fathom into this email to make sure it's the bast last hurrah of all Sister Murphy missionary time!
We castrated a bull.
Hahahahahahahahahaha it's true!!! We really did!!! Okay well maybe I didn't perform the actual surgical part, but i handed that rancher tool by tool by iodine spray!!!! And BOY was it an experience. THEN we latched his poor nostrils to a rope and looped it to the side bar to strap his head down and the rancher began sawing at his horns! It was the most gore i have EVER seen, and it was live and active. My companion had the lovely experience in singing the open horn wound with a hot iron to stump the spurting veins. WOW!
I have never been involved in more service projects in my entire life than we did these past two weeks. We've sanded cupboards (power tools, YES!) (...are those approved? dangit i didn't even think of that...), we've raked junky fields, herded cows, made salads, fancied up cups for a fund raiser, served slop to the elderly, sang and performed at the old folks home, swept and dusted carports, and fasted mucho. Through it I've met gentle horses, pet deer head mounts, been splattered with blood and chemicals and manure and shnozz, wheezed sawdust, smiled and laughed and enjoyed gorgeous sunsets in spiritual conversations. The Lord created courageous animals and surreal scenes and wow we are so lucky to be his precious spirit children, learning to grow in these valuable bodies of ours.
I spent way too much time whining and griping this past transfer. I've been negative and prideful. I've forgotten simple truths and lived in shadows of doubt. I've encountered doors slammed and sarcastic grins flashed and hate words shouted. Up and down in this field and river and gulf and mist and light and love of God. There have been angels protecting us and walking with us and softening the hearts of many we teach. The Holy Ghost has been incredibly active, bringing new thoughts and light to my anxious and eager mind, through others or scriptures or thoughts and it always always brings peace, and surety, and faith is grown and sins are forgiven and a plan made more sure and lives blessed.
We are so human! We have this carnal man inside us and you know why we are commanded to share the gospel? Because God intends to cut off the weakness that bears us down. He intends to build His children into an army of love and compassion and pure good! Why I ever think it should be easier I just don't know. The joy that God knows and desires to share does not come at a cheap price. It requires constant sacrifice, constant humility in asking Him for help, acting and envisioning, setting goals and getting to work. Mosiah 5 taught me today there are very specific key indicators we can recognize within us if we are repentant and progressing:
1. Obtaining a KNOWing by the Spirit in hearing spiritual things
2. "No more disposition to do evil, but to do GOOD continually"
3. "Great views of what's to come" (a vision for your future, a plan!)
4. Pure faith in words of the prophets and our leaders
5. Desire to fulfill God's will
6. Obedience to commandments
7. And most significant for my past concerns and dire need to understand: JOY!! Exceedingly GREAT joy!!!
We are to be happy, and sure, and trusting, and obedient, and wow I just love how simple it is. This is the key to joy and freedom!! King Benjamin boldly and lovingly states after all of this: "And under this head ye are made FREE." ....WOW i love it!!!
We called and called Sharese Saturday and Sunday morning, a member went by to pick them up, we sat in the pieu waiting in anxiousness, and Sister Davalos walked in without them. They did not answer the door, not the phone, they did not make it to church. So we find a teamup (a wonderful return sister missionary :D) and we zoom 30 minutes west to the little town of Leoti. Kaley opens the door and we go in and they were just as usual, tired, negative, worn, eating, tv. We sat and prayed silently for the Lord's love and guidance to teach them as He would have us. A discussion later and Sharese is in tears, "You mean I need to not just ask the Lord to help me, but... I need to put Him first and do more?" "YES!" we respond. "....oh! ....that makes sense!" and she cries, seemingly touched by the Spirit who was working on her in ways we could not see nor fully comprehend. She was learning, learning what God hoped for her to learn in order to have the willingness to act. For we know that she cannot be cleansed and sanctified through any other way.
And He wants Sharese to be happy too!!! I just didn't understand that, i used to think well, if it's not about us and we are to focus entirely on others than why would we even CARE to feel our own joy? Why do we even deserve it when we are so weak and mess up so often? I know now that it's simply because the Lord is GOOD and He really does love us. Wow He loves us so much. I'm tearing even now, trying to fathom His love for us. It's perfect. His plan is perfect. And He invites us to become perfect, wherein lies a more blissful joy than I cannot even begin to comprehend.
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
And so, as I close this chapter of my life as a full-time missionary, I am completely renewed. I have learned to apply the atonement, to love others, and I've learned there is SO MUCH MORE for me to learn, and I'm thrilled to be entrusted with living back in the warring and cold world to do it. I am ready, so ready to fight in this war and lift up the broken-hearted and give spiritual sight to the spiritually blind. It never ends, for we have been truly blessed with the truth that sets us free, and we get to "waste away" our lives in spreading it to others.
WOW I love you all!!!! Here are a couple more pics of us at the ranch, and I"ll add more too:
1. Hot rod and Hook rope
2. Pile of bright and beautiful sister missionaries, both returned and current
3. Me in my self-upholstered chair
4. Legacy wall of all past comps and some baptisms
5. Sisters of the district at Dodge City Sisters Conference
6. The West. Winter wheat, toy story clouds, and turbines.
I LOVE YOU FAMILY!!! I will see you oh so very soon. I'm off to the free zoo, a packed and give-it-all-you-got-left proselyting day tomorrow, then to Wichita to farewell my missionary friends Wednesday, and a perfectly timed flight to 801 Thursday morning.
God be with you til we meet again!!
THE LAST SISTER MURPHY
.......or am i??