This week has been one of the most exhausting weeks for me. I just am dead tired every single night, I have to like pry my eyes open as we do our nightly planning! I am not exactly sure why either. I do a little more biking here than in Ripon, but other than that I guess I was just really tired from all the change that happened.
I got my new companion that I am training! Sister Kitahara! She is19, from Tokyo Japan, and is learning English, how cool is that! We understand each other most of the time as long as we keep the conversation pretty basic. She usually understands the idea of the conversation, but not always all of the words. Her English is really great and continues to keep getting better. Last year she went to the English learning center at BYU for a couple months to learn English, but after when she went back to Japan she didn't speak it until now so she says she forgot a lot of it, but I can see it coming back to her more and more each day. She has this cool little electronic dictionary that she uses when she can't express to me what she needs to. Helping her learn English has really made me reflect on what words I say and why I say them, it has been very eye opening to me. Learning about the Japanese culture has also been really cool, I never really knew much about it. I even use chopsticks now (not well but working on it haha). I just love her so much already. She is one of the most sincere, obedient, and loving sisters I have met. I am so excited to train her and work with her. It has brought a new excitement and drive to my mission being her companion.
Coming back to my first area, Mountain House, has been so crazy this week- a little overwhelming. I just felt so loved and welcomed though. We had treats and tiny presents dropped off to us, and so many happy calls and texts. The ward was so happy to see me again, and they just adore sister kitahara already (who doesn't?!). The stake president here even reached out to president palmer and told him how much the ward needed us back right now and how happy they are to have us. President Palmer called and told us about that conversation and he said he knows we have a work to do here. I know that as well. There is a lot of floating potential here. We are still trying to figure out exactly what direction the area was moving in before we got here. It can be hard to know exactly what is going on from just looking at an area book sometimes, and our ward mission leader just got married and will be gone so we will be relying on the Lord a lot to help us piece it all together- but what better source of guidance? I am excited to see where He guides us as we rely on Him with all our might. One really cool experience for me is that an investigator I found a year ago here in Mountain House, Monique, decided to take lessons again and is really progressing lately. Her and I really connected when we first met last fall and had some really profound moments together. I am so happy to be teaching her again. There are so many good things happening in Mountain House, I feel really at peace to be serving here again.
I am so excited for conference coming up next month, so so so excited! I have this goal to read the previous conference ensign before the next one in October! As I have been filling any time I can with reading conference talks I have felt a special spirit come into my life by doing this and I am just so grateful that God gives us a living prophet and apostles to guide us and council us as we journey back to Him. Each talk just speaks to me so personally and gives me the strength to keep moving forward in faith no matter what trail I may face.
As I have started to read the Book of Mormon for the third time on my mission (I finish it about every 6 months), I have noticed how new things every time pop out to me every time I read. The scriptures are such a endless source of revelation for me when I need answers most. I was reading in 1Nephi 17 about how Nephi and his family are traveling in the wilderness. The Lord tells them in verse 13, "And I will be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you..". I was thinking about how so many times in my life I feel like I am stuck in the wilderness. Sometimes it has been a physical wilderness, like when I first arrived to my mission and was very lost, and sometimes it has been more of an emotional or spiritual wilderness. Times when I am confused or question why I am experiencing certain things. No matter what the wilderness we are in though, I know that the promise holds true for us as well, Jesus Christ will be our light. He will prepare the way for us...sometimes it is just enough light to take that next step, but He will always show us. The light Jesus Christ shines for each of us can not be dimmed, there is no night or trail too dark that His light can not cut through. I really have felt that time after time in life. I admit it can still be very scary to be in the wilderness, but His light gives me the hope and warmth that there are good things that lie ahead as I follow Him. This thought has given me a whole new love for the hymn, Lead Kindly Light. It is a new favorite of mine:
all my love,
sister eleanor r. neeley