A Change of Weather

10 June 2013

The sun is out today and things are looking up!

“And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;

….Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
‘Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,
‘Tis the natural way of living…”

from “The Vision of Sir Launfal”
by James Russell Lowell

This week has been so much better than the last: rays of hope have finally broken through my bleak outlook and I find myself waking up with a smile on my face. Our investigators are all struggling at the moment, and for the second week in a row we’ve seen a half-dozen first appointments fall through, but Sestra B and I are learning to be at peace with the choices of others: we can and must invite, but they have their agency (God-given power to choose) in the end. I’m so grateful for inspired leaders: our district meeting and Branch Conference both centred on faith, HOPE, and charity – no matter what, we can’t get discouraged! We are working hard, invoking the Lord’s help, and daily striving to reach out in love to others. Our efforts are still imperfect, but that’s no reason to despair.

baptism day

Special memories…
Baptism day in May

Branch conference was lovely: such a special spirit of unity filled the Branch and the love and council of our leaders was inspiring. There are big changes afoot: a sister in the Branch has accepted a calling to the Primary Presidency, and D (who was only just baptised!) to the Young Women Presidency! D is so amazing:  she recently got all As on her maturita (high school final exams), finishing first in 4 subjects! It’s a huge blessing: a confirmation for her that she’s on the right path and in line to receive the choicest blessings.  One of the Elders’ investigators came and seemed to have a very positive experience; he is working towards baptism and we all have the best of hopes that Z will continue to blossom.

Speaking of which, we’ve had another miracle this week! Our English class has been flagging of late. At first we attributed it to the 7-week salsa dancing class across the way (we lost at least 3 students to that one), then hockey tournaments, then end-of-year-exams, but last week no one came at all. Not a single one. We upped our efforts to advertise, and prayed that people would attend so that we may serve others and find new investigators. This week 5 new people came! They all seemed to really enjoy it and hope to come again. President Irwin has given us permission to offer French as well – yay! 😀 It’s new and so has yet to get a hold, but once those we’ve spoken to start coming, I’ve no doubt that it too will pick up speed.

Coming on a mission is teaching me so much about obedience, not just to God’s commandments (the biggies), but also to His wise counsel and loving instruction (the more subtle things).

I’m afraid I still haven’t got the hang of P Days – there’s so much to do and we only have one shot to get it all done or postpone it for yet another week. (P Day is short for “Preparation Day”, the one day of the week that missionaries run errands and attend to personal business). Getting my hair cut is one such item that I just haven’t been able to squeeze in for weeks and weeks. Today I was determined to accomplish that goal, but in my eagerness to get my hair trimmed, I ended up trimming a few corners on our normal study routine. I was amazed to observe how quickly my feelings of peace and spiritual power diminished, and how much it impacted on the people around me, especially my companion. That one little compromise seemed harmless enough, and in the heat of the moment getting my hair presentable seemed like a very high priority. Well, my head feels lighter by far but my heart is the opposite: it wasn’t worth it.

As I have experiences like this, I’m realising more and more all the exceptions I used to make, and the good I could have done if I’d been more exactly obedient.  How grateful I am for commandments, rules, and instructions that keep us safe on the road to success and away from heartache and regret! I hope that despite my faults and foolishness I can become a worthy representative of the Lord – through the mercy of His Atonement.

I know that this is the Lord’s church restored on the earth. the Book of Mormon is the word of God and convincing evidence of that restoration through the prophet Joseph Smith. The only way to lasting peace and happiness is living in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ: turning our hearts to God, developing His divine attributes, and serving our fellow men every day of our lives. Everyone needs the blessings this knowledge brings; ours is the duty and privilege to share it.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement, I need it! Thank you for all that you do, and the examples you set for me.

S laskou, Sestra Jones

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