Monday, March 28, 2016

We didn't get anything we planned done, but got done what God needed us to

February 8, 2016


The work here in Ripon is hard lately. Our investigators are not really progressing as we had hoped they would. It is really hard to accept. I just want them to realize the blessings of coming unto Christ and living His gospel, it is hard when they do not want that for themselves. Actually, it is hardest when they only 50% want that for themselves. They feel the spirit, they want to know Christ more, but they don't do what it takes to get there. It is spiritually exhausting. I am constantly thinking of talks, scriptures, and lesson plans to best help those I am teaching- in the morning on our runs, in the shower, in the car, just whenever I have free time my mind wanders to those I am teaching and I analyze and analyze again and again what I can be doing to help them better. Okay. So, I probably worry about it to a unhealthy point haha but it is hard when we are not teaching a ton of people so I just put all my love and hope into those that I am teaching. This week though Sister Winn and I are praying and fasting to really find more people who are ready to receive the gospel in their life. One way we are already finding some potential success is by asking everyone we meet all the time if they know anyone who would be interested in hearing our message of Christ's gospel. We are doing our part to be obedient as we can, and work hard so I know that the Lord will bless us. Pause real quick- let me tell about Sister Winn. She is such an amazing companion. I honestly love all my companions I have had, but Sister Winn is one I will just be friends with always. We just connect the way we think and the way we work. We have been companions for like 2 weeks and we both feel like we have been friends since forever. The weeks have been just flying by. This week especially. We had so many crazy things happen to us, many of which pulled us out of our area to be with our sisters. We finally have met and worked briefly (like on a tiny afternoon split or something) with all 18 of our sisters which was a goal for us. We now have a better idea of where we need to be focusing and with whom we need to be giving extra love or help. This being said, we both feel like this week we need to have a increased urgency and focus in our own area here in Ripon. This whole balancing act between our area and the responsibilities as sister training leaders is really hard. I never feel like I am doing either one 100% which is really hard for me to accept, but I know that God put us here for a reason and  gave us this assignment for a reason so I need to just trust Him more and stop having a panic attack about not working hard enough every ten seconds. God must be like shaking His head at me most days haha, I just need to trust His love and guidance more. He is so patient with me, and so loving.

Okay so a little insight into our crazy week. Hmm. Well we had zone training this past week and it was really powerful. I love my zone a ton. I have spent all 6 months of my mission here in the Manteca zone so I have a lot of really close friends here. Which all of them are in different districts than I am this transfer surprisingly. We added a new district this transfer and I was put in the small new one with some missionaries I have not really served super close with. I am really excited to get to know them though. Anyways, Sister Winn and I lead a council on mormon chapter 9 and with a focus of miracles and not doubting. I had a real problem with this chapter because it kept saying doubt not and I was like how can I not doubt?! I will never have perfect faith so how I can never doubt? I have realized though there is a difference between doubts and questions. I have a lot of questions- A LOT - about the gospel but I have a strong faith and hope that as I keep doing my best to follow the Savior in time I will get those answers. Doubts weigh me down, and questions encourage me to study and pray more. So now when I read "ask, doubting nothing" I know I can really do that. I know that I have faith in Jesus Christ and His restored gospel, so despite what questions arise I never doubt my Savior. I know He is there. And with that faith I have I can ask Him for all things. 

One split we went on that was particularly powerful this week was with the Houghson sisters. I was working with Sister Beteiti in waterford. She is a brand new missionary who is from a tiny island in the south pacific. She is still learning english so missionary work is very difficult for her. We were biking around and we could not find any of the houses she had planned for us. I could tell she was getting frustrated, and the language barrier was not helping. We paused to say a prayer and ask where we needed to be. Instantly we both felt peace and we decided to stop messing with the map and let the spirit just direct where we needed to be and we would spend our time street contacting. We met so many people that day who asked us to come back, it was a miracle. And although sister beteiti didn't feel comfortable starting conversations, once we were talking to people she would bear her testimony and it was just powerful. She has a very strong spirit and an amazing story of how she ended up coming on a mission. I am very excited to get to know her and work with her. After the day she told me she now knows that talking to people is not as hard as she thought. It was awesome to hear and the whole day was just the spiritual boost I needed. Side note that is less spiritual- I got 4 spanish referrals from waterford! Holla at yo girl!!! There is a ton of spanish speakers there and  I was able to practice my spanish with them then refer them to the spanish elders in the area. It was a lot of fun for me. Although the spanish conversations made sister beteiti a bit more confused hahaha- she is so adorable. 

We also started off our exchanges this week with the stockton sisters. We will have to do two exchanges a week to get them all done by the end of the transfers, and then plus other extra needed exchanges so we will be busy and travel around a bunch. It will be a blessing to work with so many sisters though. So this week was a week full of car troubles for the mission. One of them was our own car. We went in for a simple oil change and when we left the car went CRAZY. It was like shaking and not accelerating, and then smoke starting like pouring out of the exhaust pipe so we pulled over and walked back to the car shop to tell them what happened. Then long- longgggggg- story short we went back to meet a tow truck and then walked back to the shop to wait for someone to come rescue us. We were trapped up in Lodi all day long. So this is a situation that could have really been a frustrating day for us, but it was the exact opposite. It is hilarious to me how God works sometimes. We were put in the path of multiple people through out the day, a secretary at the shop, a woman and a man sitting by us in the waiting room, and the tow truck man. We were able to talk and get to know each of them. They all were going through something in their lives hard and we were able to uplift their spirits by sharing our testimonies of the gospel with them. Especially the tow truck man. He is going to start meeting with missionaries where he lives and it was a blessing to be able to guide him to that. I know God loves each of those people so much that he purposely put us in their path so that they could be uplifted and feel his love. We didn't get anything we planned to get done that day, but we got done what God needed us to, and that is why we are here. His love is so perfect and so individual for each of us, it amazes me. There were some other emergencies with sisters that pulled us from our area this week, one being a car crash that thankfully no one was hurt in, but in every instance I know it was directed by the spirit and I was able to minister to someone, hopefully in a similar way that Christ would have if Christ were here. Our motto is never be in a hurry to love someone. Christ never was. 

So I am doing well and Sister Winn is a bomb companion and I am learning so much about myself and who God wants me to be. I am loving being on my mission and I hope I can continue to be one with the savior in doing the will of the father. I love you all!

all my love,
Sister Neeley

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