Wednesday, May 7, 2014

German Nuns and Joy in His Service

It has been a GREAT week. These past 3 weeks have been really really happy for some reason. My desire to be a missionary is increasing and I'm feeling more capable of fulfilling my purpose. I think that I finally have the right amounts of stress, work ethic, and spirituality to make for a mentally and physically healthy missionary. Whew! What a relief. I'm sure things will still go up and down throughout my mission, but the past month has taught me a lot about how to be happy in any circumstance. 

Sister Shih and I had a few really neat experiences this week. The first one that comes to mind is that on Saturday evening we helped a group of nuns carry their luggage from the train station to the bus station. We saw them from a far, and they were trying to stack their luggage on top of each other because a wheel had broken or something. We hurried over and offered to help and ended up carrying the broken suitcase for them. It took about 5 minutes so we talked to them for a bit. They were lovely women! They were from Germany and taking a 2 week "Salvation Course" in Preston. The one I was talking to had just returned from a 3.5 year assignment in Brazil. Talk about dedication to the Lord! I asked one how long she had been a nun and she said for over 20 years! And then said, "And I'm SO happy!" I told her I'm a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (she didn't know which church until I said Mormon) and she said, "Oh! I could tell because there is something special in the way you laugh." It was such a quick experience but I've been pondering it a lot this week. I really loved those nuns! I wish I could have talked with them for hours. I think it was such a change to speak with someone who was also trying their best to live set apart from the world. Who would have thought I would ever have such a connection to a group of German nuns. 

We also have started teaching 2 girls who are Born Again Christians. They are both English and studying at Lancaster Uni. This has been SUCH a contrast from teaching the Chinese students. We found one girl, Charlotte, through street contacting. And then on our second lesson with her she brought her friend from church. It has been a really positive experience for me and I'm learning more about the Bible as a result. It has strengthened my testimony of the restored gospel because I can see how much these girls are missing in their understanding of the whole eternal scheme of things. They have both started reading the Book of Mormon and we will be meeting with them tomorrow to teach them the 3rd lesson. In Preach My Gospel ch.5 it says: "Every person who sincerely reads and prays about this book (The Book of Mormoncan know with certainty of its truthfulness by the power of the Holy Ghost." 
So I'm just trying to put my faith in that promise and hope that they will feel the spirit as they read and pray about what we have taught them.

Like I said at the beginning of my email, I'm so joyful right now! A lot of my stress throughout my mission has come from feelings of inadequecy and panic because I thought I couldn't do what my mission leaders were asking me to do. On SaturdaySister Shih and I were invited to District Leaders Council and I started to feel overwhelmed as they discussed all the new things that would be happening this coming transfer. I started thinking, "There is no way I can do that. It's impossible. I'm just not good enough to make that happen." But then out of nowhere the thought popped into my head, "Why couldn't I do those things? I have absolutely nothing else to do on this mission EXCEPT to do the things my leaders ask me." I know that is a simple thought, but it gave me so much comfort and happiness! Because I realised that this mission is such a special time to dedicate everything to the Lord. And that used to stress me out because I don't think I truly even wanted to give everything to the Lord at the beginning of my mission. But my heart has changed in a way that now allows me to see the command to give my whole might, mind, and strength to the Lord as a HUGE blessing. There will never be another time quite like this one. I will never be a single sister missionary living in Lancaster, Lancashire County. NEVER. When I think about my mission like that, I feel such an excitement! More excited than I've felt my entire mission. Anything could happen! I can use this time to miss home OR I can use it to let the Lord shape me and others to be worthier to live in His presence someday. And I can have fun throughout the whole process. I love the Lord. And I'm learning that the absolute BEST way to show my love for Him is to serve him. And missionary work is serving him in the most literal sense. I'm SO lucky to be a missionary.

Here are the pictures that I've taken in the past week:
Sister Shih and I at Specialised Training

​President and Sister Preston at the "First 5 Weeks" training for Sister Shih

​A fun lunch yesterday with the Chinese recent converts and elders

​The Preston Zone

​Sisters Shih, Bement, McDonnel, and Alston at zone meeting this morning

​Sister McDonnell and I

And that is about it! I love you all and, as always, am so grateful for your love and support. I'm so glad to give you all this happy report of my time here in Lancaster. Sister Shih and I were informed on Saturday that we will be here another 6 weeks! Which means I will be in Lancaster for 6.5 months of my mission. What a treat!

All my love,
Sister Bement

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