Monday, October 21, 2013

"I didn't even know we had mountains here!"

October 21, 2013

My dear family and friends,
Wow! This has been quite the week. First off, thank you all for your prayers for me and for the family of Elder Page. Even though it's still hard, I've received a lot of comfort through your prayers. The power of prayer is amazing. I doubted it in the past, but now I know that it's one of the best things we can do for others. It's been interesting to read emails from other members of my district in the CCM. One of my other good friends, Elder Haws (the one from North Platte) was actually in his district in the field. He told me they got to go to the temple the day before and he had an interview with the mission president the morning of the accident. I wrote a letter to his family and printed all the pictures I had of him. I felt that it was something I should do. I have the address of the mission office in Arcadia, so I asked them to forward it to his home.

I guess one of the most important things I've learned from this experience is how fast life goes. I know this may sound cheesy (it's the first time that I ever lost anyone I've known and loved), but life goes by so fast. We don't have time to focus on the unimportant things in life. As I've had this, and other experiences from my mission occur, I've realized what is important and what isn't in life. Having good grades or success in work is great, but if you are missing out on the opportunity to get to know and spend time with the people you love, then it's not worth it in the end.
Let me tell you about this week! It's been full of miracles and awkwardness. The miracles have been amazing! It's been good to see success, especially since Hermana T said we basically opened our new area. All the work was done in the other area by both sets, so there was very little work done in our area. We've been working really hard on working through members. I don't want to go knocking. But I know I need to get over that, because it does bring success, like the two people from our ward and Elder Page's father. Hearing those stories helps me change my attitude about knocking.

First off, I've learned a lot of lessons this week. I've realized how much I love my companion! She is awesome. She helps me a ton learning how to do this work and we work well together. I also learned that perfection can rob joy. It's good to want to be better, but if you only focus on the your weaknesses and how you keep failing at overcoming them, you begin to digress and are much more unhappy. I've noticed that with goals on my mission, particularly with Spanish. And I realized that I've done that frequently throughout my life: focus to much on my weaknesses and trying to overcome them that I forget to have joy and recognize my strengths. It's been a hard lesson to learn, but I'm glad I'm beginning to realize it and that it's something I can try to begin to overcome during my mission. So don't let perfectionism rob you of joy! Here's a quote I love from General Conference by President Uchtdorf: "Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we stand up, dust ourselves off, and stride forward." I loved what Steven said about how it's hard to see our success all at once. I can't wait to read through my journal or letters home after my mission to see myself grow. How cool an experience that will be!
Ah! I don't have much time left. Well, here are the miracles. We had an investigator come to church that I didn't think would come! She had a great experience and is coming back next week for the primary program. Then we had the member we were eating dinner with that night invite her over also. It was a great experience.

But the big miracle! We've been trying to get the chance to meet with some solid investigators that the elders gave us for the longest time. She's been super busy, but her and her son (who is 9) come to church almost every Sunday. Well, the primary president (bless her 1000x!) gave the son an assignment to write a talk for the program about the 1st vision. She wanted us to help him with it, so we called the Mom, and we scheduled not one, but TWO appointments for next week! We were jumping for joy!
We've been doing a lot of service these past few weeks in order to find people to teach. We even taught our district about using service as a finding tool. It's been a really neat experience. It softens hearts and helps people recognize that we are good people and servants of God.

The awkwardness! Well... sometimes missionary work is just awkward. Like when you and your companion have to break into your own apartment because it was locked by the other sisters, or knowing the people are home whose door you are knocking on. You don't have to pretend you're not home..... Oh the stories I will tell after the mission! I laugh a lot here.
But let me quickly tell you about the weather! It's gorgeous. It's in the 80s or high 70s. It feels like one extended summer. You can tell it's fall from the leaves changing color and that crops are being harvested. Grape season is almost over, but pomegranates and citrus are coming up next! Oh! And the pollution here is awful. You can barely see the mountains. For the first few days, I didn't even know there were mountains close by, until Hermana T told me you could see the mountains that day. Thus, the subject line.

Well, I must go. I love you all! I hope all is going well and you are staying strong in your relationship with God and Christ. A friend told me that we always need to be working on that relationship everyday. It's true! The mission is flying by fast.
Con amor,
Hermana Lau

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