October 17th, 2016
This week it started to rain for the first time in a long time. I was good though because we are still in a drought and need it. We had to bike in it though this weekend which isn't my favorite activity haha, we are in an all biking area, but it is what it is. It is getter a bit cooler with the rain so that is nice change. I miss having four seasons. I feel like there are two here, hot or rainy.
We had more than a few canceled appointments this week but we are still pushing along! We met some people who invited us back while tracking so we are excited to see where that goes this coming week.
This past weekend we got to help out with a really cool service project in Stockton. It was an event where dentists from all over the area came and volunteered to fix the teeth of those who don't have the means to do it. Lines and lines of people waited for hours for the event, a lot of them were homeless. It was a really special experience. We got to talk to the people in the line and get to know their stories, it was really touching. They were short interpreters so I got to help out with the spanish some which was so scary but really awesome. There was this one lady who didn't speak english sitting by herself by the line and was having a hard time. No one could understand what she was doing so I went to help her and we ended up talking for awhile. She has just moved here from Mexico two months ago and couldn't find her sister who was getting dental work done. She was so patient and kind with my spanish and kept encouraging me to keep trying. I helped her find her sister and I was able to get her involved with the free english class in stockton that the spanish missionaries teach each week. The event was really amazing and there were so many volunteers helping.
This week as I have been thinking and studying, Mosiah 24:15-16 has really meant so much to me. Alma in these verses is such an example to me of how to handle trails, or just anything doesn't go according to "our plan". He accepts the burdens and trails placed in his path, and just trusts that God is taking care of him. He is able to be joyful in his trial because he knows that God will strengthen him to get through anything. I came across a quote from last conference by Elder Hallestrom which really went along with all that I am learning about this. He said, "When difficult things occur in our lives what is our immediate response? Is it confusion or doubt or spiritual withdraw? Is it a blow to our faith? Do we blame God or others for our circumstances? Or is our first response to remember who we are- that we are children of a loving God? Is that coupled with an absolute trust that He allows earthly suffering because He knows it will bless us, like a refiners fire, to become like Him and to gain our eternal inheritance?" That is probably the biggest lesson I am learning on my mission, is to trust it all to God, everything, no matter what my circumstance. To trust that I am in the hands of a loving Heavenly Father who does nothing save it is for my own personal benefit. I am truly increasing my testimony of the refiners fire, meaning that I know sometimes in order to be who God needs me to be I, and everyone around me, will have to pass through things that melt us down, hammer us out, twist and bend us. But that through it all we will be something of much greater strength and beauty. I hope I can be like Alma, and help those I am teaching to be like Alma, as we all face the burdens and trials of life together.
all my love,
sister eleanor neeley