When I turned 6 months I wrote an email about the things that I have learned on my mission so far. One of those things was that I am nothing--that I am completely reliant on Heavenly Father. Well, this week taught me that lesson even more. God gave us some fire this week and I would say I have truly been chastened and encouraged to step up and move forward with greater commitment to Him.
We were doing some finding in Chilimoni (Sister Mntungwa's area we are balancing with ours) and finally we just sat down wondering how to move forward. I said, "You guys, lately I just feel like I'm not feeling anything. No matter how hard I try I am just not feeling it in lessons". They were both glad that I said something because they were feeling the same way. We went home that night and did some analyzing of what was wrong. We have been having amazing, uplifting, motivating meetings lately and yet we were pretty much numb to move forward. As we talked further and started studying to find the answer we got the greatest chastisement.
Recently we came up with a standard of excellence and some mission goals for the year and they have asked us to be much better than we have in the past--they require true consecration of heart, might, mind and strength. We have been trying so hard to live up to all of these new expecations but in our great efforts we had forgotten that ultimately it is not our strength that will do the work. We have been relying on our own strength to try and step up and it has resulted in failure. This is the Lord's work. Of course we would need His strength. We have been searching and searching but if we don't have the guidance of the Spirit then we will yield nothing.
That's what the Spirit has taught me this week. "If you don't yield yourself, you will yield nothing".
Heavenly Father let us know that we haven't been seeking His guidance enough. We have been called to do things that are much bigger than us and the only way we can do them is if we work with someone much bigger. We know what we need to do but without the Spirit we cannot feel or do what we need to do. President Erickson and Elder Cook have given us the knowledge, but it is only through the Spirit that we can confirm it in our hearts and actually put it into action.
So, I am going back to the basics. I guess my mission up to this point has been life changing and wonderful and I have seen many people's lives change but now I am called to be better than I've been. I was doing my best with what I knew at the time but now I know better and that means I have to be better. I have to lose myself even more. I thought I had but God wants more of me. He wants all of me. I need to study Preach My Gospel everyday and not just once in a while. I need to study for my investigators and not just for my desire for knowledge. I need to forget myself and go to work.
I guess this email has sort of been a sermon but this has taken up most of my thoughts and actions all week. I am grateful to know that God chastises those He loves. He cuts us down because He sees our potential to be better. He doesn't want us to settle for less.
We are teaching this family called the Kaweres who are super SDA (seventh day). We have been teaching the plan of salvation and it has been hard for them to comprehend that we lived with God before and we aren't just made of the "breathe of life". Finally, the wife just totally got it and she started looking at the things that her church was teaching and she was like, "They have been teaching me this all along but I feel like what you are saying is true". When we asked what she would do with her knowledge she said she would know it but continue going to the church she knew. I gave the example of many schools around Blantyre all teaching different curriculums. If you knew that one school taught the true curriculum then wouldn't you want to go to that school? It's not about the school but it's about what is taught there. Then she said, "Ah, Sister Proctor. You are teaching my in parables". She is the sassiest woman. I love her.
Another tender mercy happened. After the grand chastisement we were excited to go out and apply all that the Spirit had taught us. We were finding in the richer part of our area and as we were searching for this man we contacted before we came upon a girl our age sitting in her house called Nelia. She actually reminded me a lot of Capri (shout out to Hermana Dahle!). We asked her if she knew the man we were looking for and she invited us in. We took the opportunity to teach and the whole time I was praying to find her need. The Spirit opened my mouth and I began to testify of repentance and the peace that Heavenly Father can give us despite our pasts and she just began crying and telling us about her life story. Her mother died and her father abandoned her and so many things have happened that has made her feel like God isn't hearing her prayers. I just testified to her that though her earthly father abandoned her she has a Heavenly Father that will never abandon her. I can't wait to teach her again.
Well, I love you all. If you want to understand more of my feelings read Nephi's Psalm (2 Nephi 4). God is so good. He knows what we need. I am certainly being refined and I am eternally grateful.