Jolley old friends of mine!
This week was such a struggle and I am really and truly just so grateful. We have officially dropped everyone Sister Smartt and I worked with for the first transfer. My companion was struggling with two absessed (?) teeth and we were inside our apartment or a dentists office the majority of the time. It offered, however, many opportunities to try my patience and broaden my knowledge and testimony of the gospel.
I have at last recognized many small promptings from the Holy Ghost. Can you believe it has taken me until now after all of my life to finally be aware of daily promptings?? And it isn't even really daily yet, I guess it's just once in awhile. I know without a doubt that I am being led and instructed by the Spirit, but to be actually conscientious of it has been my primary struggle. "Text Tonya," the spirit first said. I did so. "Ask her how her week has been," He said next. She was very short in response and I felt or was told that she clearly has not been doing okay. She is one of our progressing less-actives who served a mission ten years ago, and although she knows and believes in the truths of the gospel, the adversary has poisened her mind to forget how much the Lord loves her, to understand His grace, and the importance in constant keeping of commandements and covenants. "Ask her if she would like a priesthood blessing." And so I did, and I felt it was so out of the blue and we hardly ever text back and forth with her and this is too abrupt to text such a thing. Sure enough she replied, "I don't know who to ask." A sweet and humble submission to receive help in her efforts to find the strait and narrow. We sent lovely Brother Wangsgaard right over and according to him it was a wonderful blessing of strength and clarity.
This last week I too received a blessing. I also encountered various incredible workings of the priesthood and have come to recognize how powerful the mantle of my calling truly is. This morning after teaching a new investigator referred to us by the early-morning seminary teacher (she accepted baptismal date for Noche Blanca!), he said served in South Africa. There he would accompany saints as they walked for two hours to attend weekly church meetings. They would pass men and women newly murdered, lying on the ground beside them, and would just continue walking. It was a normal, every day occurance in the heart of the darkest downtown area he said was the worst in the world at the time of his mission. He said it never really worried or stressed him, but as soon as he was released from his calling to serve and the mantle was stripped from his soldiers, the trauma ensued and he said for years he suffered from PTSD. I feel so honored to hold such a power!!
I have learned how to obtain greater patience, charity, humility, and diligence. If you cannot tell, I am a bit worn out from the emotional fire I have had the honor to charge through this week. I wish this for everyone, I truly do. I have heard what RMs have expressed to me about their missions before I left, I saw the profound understanding in their eyes and had not understood it until now. I am consistently at the brink of tears and it is merely because I see truths testified before me of the Saviors love and the perfect plan of the Father, and I stand all amazed. I really do. I am so grateful to be part of such light and glory.
If you haven't noticed, the mission culture has changed. Our mission leader told us last week to completely abandon tracting efforts. It is deemed as nearly useless at the time of Hastening the Work. I cannot get that statement of Ballard out of my head; this hastening of the work is so significant and will be so profound a time of history as was the restoration of the gospel and the translation of the Book of Mormon. The talk about having a "Game Plan" for missionary work is just my fave and explains this all so well. We as missionaries are so reliant on the efforts of our ward. It is primarily our duty to serve the ward, to teach the ward, and help them bring the Lord's sheep into our fold. We are no longer seeking to find our own as much as we are helping YOU to do it yourself! As a commandment I want to invite you all to please please find what I have had the honor to find, and it is a deep conviction and testimony of Heavenly Father's love and plan of happiness and to share it with everyone around you. It will without a doubt make you happier than you ever understood you could be. It will bless your life, it will keep your family strong.
This sounds really so cheesy, but we taught a sister of a member, Sister Weisbender, this last weekend and they were so stubborn and fairly closed to hearing our message. Eventually the Holy Ghost softened them up so much that at the end they committed to being baptised on Noche Blanca (woohooooooo divine inspiration from mission pres for Christmas Eve white night!!!!). The investigators called Sister Wesibender later that evening and said as soon as we left they went in and prayed about what we had taught, and said it was a positive experience (I have actually never heard one of my investigators say that yet). The husband looked down at where we had sat, and imprinted there he saw the sillouhette of angel's wings. OKAY so cheesy but they are taking it as a SIGN!! Wow, so cool!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Go wasseling for me, eh? And frost those window panes and deck them halls with jolley!! Oh wait is it holly?
Sister Murphy Senior
aka Sista Murphdawg
aka Sister Smurphy (said Sid the Sloth style)