Monday, September 28, 2015

It Isn't a Sin To Be Weak

"Sister Shannon" one of our investigators took US on a
 tour of the Visitor's Center and Temple. She told us
 she took a picture of the first moment she touched
 the Temple and said we should too. 
Our tiny district at the Temple!

What a fantastic week!

We had the opportunity to go to the Portland Temple on Tuesday with our district! It is GORGEOUS. I love going to the Temple! The rest of the week was full of service and lessons! 

Saturday was a busy day. A lady whose father passed away in our ward asked if we could get some Elders to come and help her move some boxes and dressers into a u haul that morning. Apparently that was the day everybody decided to move because all the Elders in our zone were already moving other people! In the end, Sister A and I went over there and moved all the stuff for them. Never doubt the strength of a Sister! However, we also had a baptism and so we had to rush over and change at the church. Previously, we had filled up the font and when we came to check up on it before the service, we found out that there was a mix up in scheduling the building and there was another baptism at the same time! Luckily we sorted it all out and had a combined baptism. It was a crazy morning. 

We had the opportunity to go to the General Women's broadcast and a potential investigator came! We met her at the Stake Women's triathlon last Saturday and invited her to come. She said she would and she kept her word! She loved it and we hope to see her again this Saturday! The session was so amazing!

In the April 2015 Ensign, there is a talk titled "It isn't a Sin to be Weak" by Wendy Ulrich. As I read this talk, I came to find that this was exactly what so many of us need to hear. Sister Ulrich defines sin as "a choice to disobey God’s commandments or rebel against the Light of Christ within us. Sin is a choice to trust Satan over God, placing us at enmity with our Father." And she defines weakness as "a limitation on our wisdom, power, and holiness that comes from being human." I am definitely human...

The second week I got here I had so much anxiety and homesickness (something I know a lot of missionaries these days have). I had never in my life felt these emotions so strong. In the morning the alarm would go off and before I had even opened my eyes, my heart was racing a hundred miles an hour and I thought that I couldn't possibly do this for 18 months. At the time I thought I was going to feel this way my whole mission. I didn't even know what these extreme feelings were until someone told me that it was anxiety. The rest of the day was a "just get through it" kind of deal. This went on for a straight week. It was the hottest week so far, I didn't know anyone yet, I was still adjusting to the missionary life, and I had this weight on my shoulder. It was the darkest time in my entire life. 

I wondered everyday "why me?" Why, while I was on my mission doing what the Lord called me to do, did I feel like I couldn't do it? Why was I so weak? Was I wasting my mission by "just trying to get through it"? Was I just weak? 

Sister Ulrich goes on to say, "Human weakness plays an important role in [the] essential purposes of mortality. When Moroni worried that his weakness in writing would cause the Gentiles to mock sacred things, the Lord reassured him with these words:

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27)

The implications of this familiar scripture are profound and invite us to distinguish sin (encouraged by Satan) from weakness (described here as a condition “given” to us by God)."

I had a weakness and I felt completely alone. How was I ever going to make it the whole time? Then the answer came: pray. All I literally could do was pray every day, every second. I don't think I have ever prayed so dearly to my Heavenly Father than I did that week. I needed His help and I knew that He would help me. I needed to turn to Him, lean on Him, and learn from Him. It was the only way. But nothing happened over night. I didn't suddenly become strong and my weaknesses were not taken from me. I was able to overcome my challenges and weaknesses through Him. I fully turned myself to our dear Father in Heaven who gave me peace in knowing that could make it, one day at a time:

"While Satan is eager to use our weakness to entice us to sin, God can use human weakness to teach, strengthen, and bless us. Contrary to what we might expect or hope, however, God does not always “make weak things become strong” unto us by eliminating our weakness. When the Apostle Paul prayed repeatedly for God to remove a “thorn in the flesh” Satan used to buffet him, God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7, 9).

There are many ways the Lord makes 'weak things become strong.' While He may eliminate the weakness through the dramatic cure we hope for, in my personal experience this is somewhat rare. For example, I see no evidence that God eliminated Moroni’s weakness in writing after the famous verse in Ether 12. God may also make weak things strong by helping us work around our weaknesses, gain an appropriate sense of humor or perspective about them, and improve on them gradually over time."

I found my way. It was the hardest week of my life but the most humbling. We later found out that we had taught 29 lessons that week. For our mission that is a very high number. How could we have possibly have done that, especially that week!? It was through the Lord. 

I know that He cares for each and everyone one of us so much. He loves us and knows our struggles. Go to your Heavenly Father and humbly ask for help. You don't have to go through ANYTHING alone. He will help with even the tiniest of things. I know this to be true. I have a huge testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that it has been restored upon this Earth through Joseph Smith. I know that our Heavenly Father and Christ love us now just as they loved the people back in the day. I know that because of this love, they not only had prophets then but we have prophets now. Prepare your hearts and minds for General Conference this week. I encourage you all to go into the sessions with a question. You will be amazed by the way the answer will come to you.

-Love, Sister Waite

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