Monday, September 16, 2013

I Choose to be Happy!

Here's the thing about being happy: you just gotta choose it. A wise 21 year old kid in Bolivia taught me that. This week I decided that I wanted to be happier, so I decided to get over myself, stop blaming myself for the fact that we have zero investigators, and just be grateful for what I do have! Well let me tell you, it works. We went from having zero investigators to 7. I have been in country for almost 4 months and never had more than one investigator at a time. Now I'm not saying that choosing to be happy also means choosing to have success, or even that the number of investigators you have is related to how successful of a missionary you are. But I do strongly believe that if you don't belive in yourself as a missionary, why would anyone else believe in you? Whenever a negative thought comes into my head I just say "get outta here Satan!" and I choose to think of something positive.
So on Saturday we had 5 lessons planned with investigators!!!! I've never even had 2 lessons with investigators on the same day! Anyways, 2 of them didn't show up, but we still had 3 lessons which was incredible. We taught a guy named Jid from Nigeria who just finished his masters degree here. He is way cool, and the lesson was in english so of course i loved it. He was contacted by the elders about a year ago, but immediately moved to a different part of Ukraine, so he lost contact with the missionaries. Then he moved back to Lugansk on monday and we happened to call him on Tuesday! He and I both agree that it was inspired timing. He commited to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and wants to meet with us again this week! Then we taught this guy Roman. He seemed really humble and interested to learn more but at the end of the lesson when we tried to give him a book of mormon he said, no i want to meditate on it tonight and I'll come to church tomorrow and you can give it to me then .Well, guess who didn't show up to church? Anyways, we'll try to get a hold of him this week. Our third lesson was with a guy named Oliver from Zambia. He is here studying neuroscience and is Seventh Day Adventist, but clearly open to learning more about other religions. The lesson went really well, it was just me and Candy because Sister Campbell was on a split with a member because we were supposed to have 2 lessons at the same time. Well Sister Campbell's lesson never showed, but Oliver's lesson went really well! He commited to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and wants to meet this Saturday to talk more about it!
Oh also earlier in the week we taught Candy's friend Tommy, who is from Nigeria too. (seriously africans are the coolest people i know. I think a love for the Lord is just in their blood or something). It was so awesome because we were just singing hymns with him and then Candy said, "okay are you guys done? i have a testimony i want to share" hahaha it was so great. then we taught him a really shortened version of the first lesson because we had to leave to get home on time, but he accepted it all really well and his only question was "why haven't I heard of this book before?" haha. We are meeting with him tonight! Seriously the work has just exploded this past week. The only difference in what I have been doing is just deciding to be happy and be grateful for all that I have. I have a testimony of the power of a positive attitude. I have generally always been a positive person, (except that phase from age 4-7 when I just hated the world, but we don't have to go there) but Satan works extra hard on missionaries I think.
Okay I meant to do this weeks ago but I kept forgetting to bring my journal. What I learned my second transfer:
-the Lord is in charge, and is actually involved in my day to day life. over and over again I have seen little things happen that have helped me realize that Heavenly Father loves me SO much and is helping me out every day.
-the Lord has prepared me for every trial I will face without me realizing it. it is hard to recognize in the moment, but afterwards I can look back and say, wow that specific experience has prepared me for this specific trial. it's really cool.
-Charity is by far the most important thing that a missionary can have. a missionary literally cannot have success without charity. if we love the people, everything else will work itself out.
-the Lord trusts me, He called me here, I just need to trust Him.
-I studied power for the majority of my second transfer and realize that power comes as we obey Him. (It shouldn't have taken me that long to figure that one out, it was in two conference talks in a row) but I realized it from studying my patriarchal blessing. power comes naturally as we become more like God, aka by being obedient.
-prayer and fasting work!!! (see Nadia's story)
-President Lochhead taught us that missionaries need a combination of two things: conescration and competence. We can be 100% consecrated, but if we're completley incompetent, the Lord doesn't really have any skills to work with. On the other hand we can be competely competent, know the language perfectly, have tons of scriptures memorized, etc. but if we're not consecrated, completely dedicated to the work, we won't be successful missionaries.
-president Lochhead also taught us that the most important thing that we can teach to people is also the most fundamental: God is Our Loving Heavenly Father. When people truly understand their relationship with their Heavenly Father, everything else that we teach makes sense. Of course He would provide a restoration of the fulness of the gospel for us. of course He would provide a Plan of happiness for us. Of course He would give us His son to atone for us. Also everything that we ask them to do will make sense. Of course we should take care of our bodies and live the Word of Wisdom. Of course we should keep the Sabbath day holy and so on and so on. But if people do not understand this relationship, there is no point in moving on in our lessons because they just won't get it. I am so grateful to have always understood this relationship. Of course I am understanding it more and more every day.
-I read a quote by Brigham Young along the lines that every trial that we go through is necessary for our salvation. wow. I never thought of it like that before. I guess we really should be grateful for every single trial because without it we couldn't be saved! that's pretty intense.
alright so that's what i learned last transfer! it feels like a million years ago. we only have 2 more weeks of this transfer and then I'm probably leaving Lugansk! I don't want to go! Leaving lugansk will be hard, but I didn't go to young women's for 6 years for nothing: i know that I can do hard things!
have a great week and eat some beef for me! i haven't eaten beef for more than 3 months and I am almost crying just thinking about it. we did find microwave popcorn this week and it made my week. i love you and miss you!!! have an awesome week!

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