November 7th, 2016
This week was a very busy week for us. On tuesday we had a meeting for all the trainers and their new missionaries (missionaries in the first 12 weeks of their mission) all the way in Modesto. We do not have a car, and we are the only sisters in this side of the zone so we had to get a member from our ward to drive us there. We were really stressing about it, I always feel terrible asking for rides to meetings- I know everyone is so busy with their families. And it is an hour there and back, plus the three hour meeting, so we just were in a pickle for a few days trying to find someone who had the time to help. We have become very close with one of the less active sisters in the ward and when she heard our need she quickly volunteered to drive us there. It was such a blessing in so many ways. She ended up bringing another less active sister from the ward with us, and we all got lunch after. It turned out to be such a strengthening day for everyone. We also had exchanges this week. I left the area and worked in the YSA ward. It was fun to be back, I served there a few months ago. I got to teach Ashley, one of my investigators who got baptized, a new member lesson and it was so good to see her again and how much she has grown. She is the girl who just walked into the church one sunday asking to be taught with all the missionary pamphlets in hand already. I felt very grateful for the exchange.
The work is still moving forward here. We had little bit of a hard time meeting for lessons with Monique, Lindy, and Lesly but this coming week we have set appointments with each of them already so we are very excited. We did get to teach Lesly this past week though. We taught her about the plan of salvation and the spirit was very strong. She has some deaths in her family that are very close to her and that are pretty recent and painful to talk about, so as we taught more about God's plan for each of us- even those who have passed away- she was filled with hope and peace. We are going to finish teaching her that lesson this coming week. Good things are continuing to happen here, we have had a lot of new families move into the ward and we meet people everyday on the street who ask us lots of great questions.
One very exciting thing that happened is that on sunday Trisha and Robert, who got baptized when I was in the Ripon ward, found me at my ward here in Mountain House and stayed for church with me. I was so surprised! As soon as I saw them walk in I was beaming! It was such a tender mercy to see them again, I have really missed them both. Catching up with them really made my week extra special. They are very special to me and my very good friends. Another cool thing that happened was that the ward asked Sister Kitahara and I to perform together in three sundays at church. I will play the violin and sister Kitahara will play the piano. We are still working on what we should play, but we are very excited. It motivated us to also plan a piece to play together at the mission christmas devotional in next month. I love that I have gotten opportunities to play my violin while on my mission to help others feel the Spirit.
It has been a very powerful experience to me lately as I have been reading through the New Testament. This week as I was reading at the end of Romans, and I was really touched about his council to the saints there and how they should treat one another and support one another as disciples of Christ. I love in Romans 15/1 when he says "we then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak..". I pondered on the many times before and on my mission when I have been grateful for people who have picked me up when I was weak and bore with me my trial. They didn't have to do that, but because they love the Savior and because they love me they were willing to help me lift the unliftable. And I am so grateful for all the experiences I have here on my mission as I see the members of the church and just other loving hearts who continually bear up the weak. What has been truly changing for me to see though, is when certain people (whom in many aspects are the ones who I would consider are in need of the strong to help them) reaching out to help those around them, just as Christ did. Even when Christ was suffering, He still turned outward to those around him in love. What a truly Christ like attribute, turning outward even when everything in you is screaming to turn inward. Those examples have meant everything to me and have caused me ponder where that kind of strength comes from- because certainly it does not come from anything earthly. I love in the Book of Mormon in Alma 26/12 where Ammon teaches us that "..as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself but of my God, for in his strength I can do all things..". And again we are taught that in Philippians 4/12 from the Bible, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me". That kind of strength comes from the Savior and no other source.We can all find the strength to turn outward even in our lowest of places, and be able to do anything that the Lords asks of us as we rely on Him with our whole soul. We can always be strong no matter what our earthly circumstance is because the Savior is an everlasting source of strength for us that we always can have access to, if we choose. He has felt and overcome, for each and every one of us individually, everything we could possibly feel in this life. I pray and and try everyday to develop that kind of strength, to be more like the Savior no matter what my situation may look like, always turning outward looking for someone who needs love. I really do have a testimony that the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ brings us closer to that strength than any other way possible, because of the God's priesthood power being brought back to the earth again.
Have a happy and a safe week!
all my love,
sister eleanor neeley