Definitely on a mission I can feel the prayers of the people around me. It's been tremendously uplifting!
I've been studying conversion a lot on my mission so far and the concept of becoming a "new creature". I've been thinking a lot about the scripture that says "greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend." That was off memory so it was probably wrong, but I've been really wanting to lay down my life for Christ (not die, obviously) but give it all to Him and become a new creature.
Tali challenged me to seek opportunities to BECOME since this is the best chance I'll ever have, so that's what I've been doing. So the first thing I've been doing is an in depth study of the commandments - the ones in lesson 4 in PMG. The first one, my focus for this month, has been obedience.
I've learned so much, but trying to be concise - my 3 focuses on things with that are :
1. aligning my will with God. Elder Holland said, about missionary work: "From the second you wake up to the second you go to sleep, the only thing you should be thinking about is how to save a human soul." And if that really were the only thing I EVER thought about, my will would be aligned. SO I've been focusing on identifying anything that distracts me from that and giving it to Christ to hang onto.
2. Keeping commitments. We are commited to do something by someone in every phone call, mtg.lesson we have and sometimes it gets overwhelming. However, I realized that I can't say that I'm exactly obedient unless I'm striving to accept and magnify all of them. So I bought a little notepad to record every committment I receive to hold myself accountable to. We've already seen miracles from that. And
3. NOTHING is enough in this work except love and submission for and to God. Not the love of the people, my companion, my president, my area. It all crumbles without obedience.
I've seen recently that being a little lax about policies and rules can lead to tragedy. (two sisters were just sent home).... Especially in light of my focus on obedience, the 1st law of heaven, it was such a testimony to me that I am here to do the will of my Father, nothing else and nothing else will compensate.
My favorite example of this is the very best example. Jesus Christ came to Earth to do the will of the Father. He came BECAUSE His Father sent Him. And though He loves us immensely and unconditionally, ONLY HIS LOVE OF THE FATHER and His determination to do His will was enough for Him to complete the Atonement.
Anyway, I thought I'd share some of the things I've been studying lately. I love personal study time!! Sorry that went on so long. I just got excited.. hahaha.
Anyway - most days a mission doesn't feel like a sacrifice. The 2 hardest things are 1. Being away from family and 2. Not holding babies. If after a year and a half, you all would move here and I could hold babies, I'd happily do this forever :)
I miss my lovely Lake Point! I miss the ward members. It's a good thing I love Kansas so much!
I'm really excited for this transfer in Hutchinson (the same area she has been in since October) - I love it here.
It's been one crazy week! I'm not even sure where to begin! I'll just sort my thoughts into a few dazzling highlights for this week.
1. Kelly! Kelly is this amazing girl we met through our zone leaders. They've taught several of her other family members, but she was more than open to talk. We had a lesson with her and were able to challenge her to read some of the Book of Mormon. Well, later that night she texted us and, after opening up to Alma 26, she said she felt like God was directing her. She's changed her career path and came to church the next day, bore her testimony and told us that she knows Christ is in the church and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Jaw droppingly prepared :)
2. Jennifer and Mia! We found these two beautiful women at an Oxford home for addicts. They are so close to Christ and said they would definitely want to be baptized on the 28th of March. We taught them the restoration and they believed right off that it was true. We showed them the addiction recovery books the church has and they loved them, and we've been texting them scriptures about strength and breaking out of bondage with the help of the Lord. Both of them are amazing women :)
3. Danica! Danica, as always, is doing really well! We should be having a baptism this weekend! She is so prepared. She loves to do what God wants because she knows it makes her happy and will continue to make her happy.
Anyway, it's been a busy week! We've seen so many miracles, and also some wonderful snow! That's been fun - also, we were able to see Meet the Mormons for the first time. I was so touched. What a beautiful message! If you haven't gotten the chance to watch it, watch it. I have an itch to affect as many lives as possible for the better after watching that movie :)
Anyway, love you all lots!
1. Cookie baking with Danica5. Us and Kelly at FHE - that she came to and made a dish for! What a woman!
2. This is our apartment ... and snow :) I make Sister Browning take lots of pictures in the snow, poor gal. Ha ha ha.
3. This is our REALLY HAPPY snow picture because it makes me so happy :)
4. Us and Bobbi's little girls :D Cadence and Ashlyn