Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Where Faith Lives

Hello everyone! First THANK YOU SO MUCH for making this past week so much fun! Our mail box/ front porch was covered in cards and packages! I felt all your thoughts and prayers as well, even if you didn't send anything. I am constantly grateful for my amazing support system, and know I couldn't/ wouldn't do any of this without all of you cheering me on! 

As for this week... the roller coaster of mission life continued! Thursday, Friday, Saturday were some of the most fun days of my mission! Lots of celebrating and miracles happened. I know you'll all be curious to know how the 11th went, and I'm happy to report it was very fun! In the morning, we went to give a family we met a tour. Sadly, they texted us exactly at 12:05 (we were supposed to meet at noon) and said they were all sick and couldn't make it. :( I wasn't going to let that stop us though, so we called another man we'd met who mentioned he wanted to check out the Family History Center. (It was conveniently open! :D ). And the man we called was conveniently available to drop what he was doing and come on over! So we spent some time doing family history work with him, took him on a tour of the church, and went on our merry way. He seemed to enjoy it, and it was a great way to start out the day!

I know we tracted for a little while, dropped off a Portuguese Book of Mormon to a family we met last week (that was another fun miracle), and I'm not sure what else. But at around 5:00 we went to visit a member named Judy Alexander. She's kind of our "mission grandma" in this area, we visit her once a week and help her with cleaning and such. She gave us ice cream to celebrate, and she gave me some fun presents/flowers! After her, we went out to Panera for dinner, and finished the night off by watching the Restoration DVD with some of our investigators. So I have to say that the eleventh was definitely a success. :) 

The rest of the week was fairly normal, until we hit yesterday. Yesterday may have been the worst day of my entire mission. Sounds exciting huh? 

I woke up in the morning, and I was incredibly happy. (Which is very unusual for me by the way. I am NOT a morning person). We had studies, I learned SO MUCH and I was ready to go get the day. We met the Elders at Chick-Fil-A for lunch, then went over to the church for District Meeting and Interviews with President. 

I'm not sure what happened, but for no apparent reason, my emotional self just broke down while we were there. Interviews went well, I just cried the whole time and couldn't explain why. :) After District Meeting was over, Sister Archibald was gung-ho (is that really a phrase? it's a weird one) to go tracting because that's what she talked to President about. So we went tracting.  For 5 hours straight. 

 I was still in an emotional melt down, but on a mission you forget yourself and go to work, so I pushed through. One hour down, we had a stop by planned. It fell through... so we tracted. Our next appointment called and cancelled... so we tracted. It finally hit 6:00 and I couldn't wait until 7 when I knew we had a solid appointment planned. No such luck. She called at 6:30 saying she was very sick and we wouldn't be able to come over. Let's just say I wasn't a happy camper. And there was NO WAY i was going to continue knocking on doors for another hour. Because in the past 5 hours, not a single person had said they were interested in learning. TONS of them answered the door, a handful of them were a little less friendly rejections, and I was already feeling like the worst missionary in the world. 

But do we quit as missionaries? We sure don't. Thank goodness for Nursing Homes. :) 7:00 hit and Sister Archibald thought we should go visit a less active that's in a Rehab center named Earl. He was ecstatic to see us! You have no idea how good that felt after 5 solid hours of being rejected. It truly was a tender mercy of MY day, and we also talked to a few other people that live there. If i hadn't gained a testimony of service bringing joy before yesterday, I definitely have one now haha!

Ah and now it's a new day and I can look back at it and be grateful for the trial and what I learned. And I guess I took the time to share that with you guys (sorry it was SO long!), to help you remember that even when you are living the gospel and doing all you can.. life isn't all lollipops and rainbows. It's HARD, and you consistently wonder WHY your life seems to be falling apart when you are serving and loving your neighbor and doing those Sunday School answers. But I found a quote from Elder Ballard's talk ("To Whom Shall We Go?" from last Oct) that about sums up the why. 

"Sometimes we can learn, study, and know, and sometimes we have to believe, trust, and hope."

There are times in our lives, when we can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. We don't see how things are going to get any better, we don't understand why God has put us where He has, and we tend to either blame Him or think we aren't good enough. That is NEVER true. It is in those moments, when there are "things which are not seen" , that we are asked to exercise our faith. 

17 Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe. 

18 Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.           

21 And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. 

22 And now, behold, I say unto you, and I would that ye should remember, that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word.

That's what faith is! 

When we can't see the outcome... and we ACT anyways. And everytime we do, God PROMISES that our faith will not be in vain. I didn't see any outcome from tracting five hours yesterday in misery. Yet I KNOW that something good will come out of it. Whether it's tomorrow, or 20 years down the road. He never said it would be easy, He just said it would be worth it. 

So if there is one thing I've learned in the past year since taking that leap of faith and coming on my mission, it's that God LOVES us, He wants what is best for us, and as we follow Him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength (even if we don't feel like we have much to offer), He will teach us and shape us into something far greater than we think we can be. 
So I am grateful for the trials of this life. I'm thankful for the moments that make me question and think. Another quote from Elder Ballard's talk says "Brothers and sisters, accepting and living the gospel of Christ can be challenging. It has always been thus, and it ever will be. Life can be like hikers ascending a steep and arduous trail. It is a natural and normal thing to occasionally pause on the path to catch our breath, to recalculate our bearings, and to reconsider our pace. Not everyone needs to pause on the path, but there is nothing wrong with doing so when your circumstances require. In fact, it can be a positive thing for those who take full advantage of the opportunity to refresh themselves with the living water of the gospel of Christ."

I know that is true! 

Alright, thanks for listening, feel free to print that out and give it as a talk in sacrament meeting this week. ;) I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH, and know that wherever you are at, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are watching over you and reaching out to help you. 

Have an incredible week, keep sharing your light, and I look forward to seeing you all in a short 6/7 months!

Sister Maughan

Abby with her birthday breakfast which she made -- 
Crepes with strawberries spelling out "20".  
She's also wearing the new dress and scarf that we sent her!! 

Abby with Sister Archibald wearing birthday hats and celebrating Abby's 20th birthday ! 

Sister Archibald and Sister Maughan having a birthday dinner at Panera!  
Abby loves this place!

Abby wrote this about this picture - 
"We found a random arch we took pictures in 
-after we walked a million miles the other day." 
Funny kid !!  I thought it was cute of her face-  
So I wanted to include it with this blog! 

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