Family and friends!
Business: on letters and packages, use "Sister Mikell Smith", there is another Sister Smith in our mission, of course:)
Next week the central zone (that's where I'm in) will become the test group for Facebook! Yep, so soon I'll deactivate my current account and have a missionary account. I can only be friends with people in my proselyting area, I also will not be able to read messages, so please just don't send them. This is a test group and will allow different levels of access according to obedience and language. Help me be smart and focus on my missionary purpose, to use this tool to contact investigators daily to build their faith and help prepare them to be baptized :)
My elbows are super soft. Just saying, I realized that this week :) Also, I realized my life in theater has been preparing me for this, In 8th grade (The King and I) I was an english teacher in Asia... and now, an English teacher is one of the services we missionaries provide. Cool huh?
A THOUGHT ABOUT PRIESTHOOD
Think for a minute at how amazing the Aaronic and Melchezidek Priesthood is, and the power that the Aaronic priesthood is... then realize that the boys in our family have that! You need that priesthood in order to pass the sacrament. Why is it that they need that authority? Why doesn't just anyone who's there can pass it? Think about that for a second... then double think about how you treat the sacrament. I know it changed how I look at it.
I can't believe training time is over, ahh! Too fast, way too fast. Well, this week was filled with miracles though! First, in district meeting we mentioned an investigator who we are struggling with understanding. He seems so prepared, comes to church, obeying the commandments, but we didn't know what is holding him back from baptism. So Elder Dwiggins wrote his name on the board and everyone wrote down to pray for this brother. Then the English ward elders, who teach this man english class, offered to tailor their lesson that night to fit a need he might have (review of the Restoration) and Sister Miao and Gagon offered to go on an hour exchange so Sister Miao (native and background in ancestor worship) could maybe better understand his issue with baibai. It was just amazing to see the district come together to do anything we could to get one soul baptized and the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was also humbling to ask for help, because we need it. :) Anyway, Sister Miao was so helpful (they met Saturday) and she was able to understand the problem was different than what we thought his hesitancy was. Amazing! This work is amazing.
MEMBER MISSIONARY WORK
Saturday night we were at a park we frequently contact at but were not feeling anything. We felt unsettled about being there, like, there were people, and moms, but nothing felt right so after many prayers we opened the Book of Mormon and read a verse about how after King Benjamin's address the families returned to their homes. We felt we should go to a little bakery a member owns in a neighborhood. She stepped out after we asked her if there was a family in the area we could visit, and when a young man walked by she just started up conversation. She said, hey, is your family home? These two are missionaries looking for families to visit. He said he was the only one home. She just started talking to him about the church and then let us take over (not many members usually do that, so that was a miracle too). She allowed us to step into her little shop because it was quieter to pray. Then bore testimony and helped us set up a return appointment. It was amazing! He is super interested, and asked what he needed to do to prepare for next time (What?!)... so we pulled out the Book of Mormon and asked him to read the introduction and pray. He gave us his name, number and we were able to ask about his FB too!
WEAK MADE STRONG
I'm learning that Heavenly Father doesn't just love us in spite of our flaws, He loves us because of our weaknesses, especially when we take those weaknesses and rely on Christ to help turn them into strengths.
PROGRESS AND CHANGE
I've been preparing for a new companion. I'm sad that Sister Jasperson won't be mine anymore, but, I'm excited to meet another amazing sister, and learn from her. If there is anything I've learned from training, it's that I have a lot to learn. That we are always learning and improving, but also, that when we give what we can, and what we know how, it is enough. It really is about going to the Lord at the end of the day and asking what He feels I did well and what to improve. But improvements are always hopeful nudgings of change, not a destructive, put-down, "you did this wrong, wow, you have to change" type of feeling. Its a "you are loved, and worked today, this was good, here's how we can make it even better" type of feeling and PLAN. The Spirit will always give you hope in change and a WAY to make that change happen... and the way is always through Christ.
In my studies lately I've been trying to understand more about the power of Christ's atonement (I think we'll be spending our whole lives studying that), but also what it means to serve God. I read in D&C 4 "embark in the service of God". It didn't say, those going to the MTC or on a mission, but those who embark to serve God (which ought to be us all). Then it says, serve with all your heart, might,. mind, and strength. I think sometimes I think I have to give all my strength right now, and walk and bike until I have no more strength, but that's not it. we need to give our all in all 4 of these things, and if I am too physically exhausted, I can't keep my mind focused on the work, and if I just love them and don't think or do work to prepare, that also isn't good. It is a balance. I realized I need to work to develop all of them together, because if one dominates at a time, it was hurt my spiritual balance. So, I've loved studying that.
Well, I love you all so much! Thank you for the prayers and music! We love having hymns to listen to on Sunday and church music for those mornings it's raining too hard to workout outside. I hope you all keep loving life! Have a great summer!! It's just started to heat up here... July-Sept. are the worst of the heat and rain apparently. Super excited! Love you lots!!!!!!!!!
I'm Sister Smith, missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I'm serving in the Taiwan, Taipei mission until July 2015.