Monday, February 27, 2017

Ducks, Dogs, Doctrine

Hi Family!

This week, I helped in saving the life of a duck. Yep, a duck.  Highland Zone got to go do service at an outdoor expo about nature and such.  I guess the point of it was trying to get kids to go outside.  Sister Johnson and I were in charge of wandering around and picking up trash/asking people at the stands if they needed water. While we were walking around, a lady came and asked us if we could get someone to come help because there was a duck who was caught on a fishing line.  We were internally freaking out because fun fact: being an adult does not mean you know the answer to everything and I am still learning that--but that also means that most people aren't going to yell at you because they don't know what is going on either. :)  But then we remembered that we had just talked to a lady at a stand that rescues and takes care of injured wildlife until it can return to the wild. Another fun fact: I think the missionary nametag is magical because it means we can ask random strangers of they have a knife or a net and they just hand one over without questioning it.  So we ran around and got the stuff and one of the people from the wildlife place was able to save the duck (it was very dramatic--I'll put a picture of how she saved it below) before the little guy drowned.

We also had to chase a dog around this week.  One day, Sister Johnson and I were contacting someone named Marilyn.  Marilyn had talked to missionaries before, so we were following up to see if we could teach her.  Well, her dog escaped while we were talking to her sister at the door and was running around, so Sister Johnson and I were running all over creation trying to catch it.  Sister Hanny, who lives in the ward we were in, was out walking with her baby when she sees us running and joins into help us catch the dog.  This dog did not want to be caught and I kept thinking of it in terms of the parable of the one lost sheep and thought, "If we are like this when God is just wanting us to come back, He must have a whole lot of patience."  Eventually, the dog stopped to do some business, and we were finally able to catch it.  I was annoyed at the dog at this point, but it ended up working out really well.  We took the dog back to Marilyn's house, and when we got there, Marilyn was outside--her sister had said that she wasn't feeling well before.  Sister Johnson, Sister Hanny, and I got to talk to Marilyn, and we started talking about the Book of Mormon.  Marilyn said that she had read it, but that bits of it kind of confused her.  Sister Hanny jumped right in and bore a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon, so Marilyn said that she would try reading it again and invited us to come back next week!  Sister Johnson and I have really been wanting to find more friends to teach, so we are really excited.  It's still slow going, but we feel like there are some miracles coming just around the corner.

We also had Zone Conference this week.  That means about sixty missionaries all gathered together and we had a conference where the mission president and the assistants to the president did some training with us.  Since our mission is so small, our zone conference actually consisted of three different zones, so I got to see some other friends.  We've been focusing on our purpose as a missionary, and I learned a lot about being activity driven vs. being purpose driven, and it really helped me to re-evaluate what things will truly help us as we seek to invite others unto Christ.  At the end, we had a short testimony meeting, and it was such a spiritual experience.  This transfer, a lot of missionaries that I am good friends with will be finishing their missions, so it was really fun to see them get up and bear testimony.   It made me just so thankful for my mission because it gave me a small idea of the change that is happening in my life as I saw what amazing people they had become.  I'm ever so thankful that I am able to serve around such awesome elders and sisters that have helped my testimony to grow, and I am grateful to know that I still have a whole nine months of mission to keep learning and growing during.

As our mission is so focused on the Doctrine of Christ, I've been trying to study it more.  I have a Book of Mormon that I've been marking each part of the Doctrine of Christ in a different color.  Faith is marked in yellow, repentance in green, baptism in blue, the gift of the Holy Ghost in pink, and enduring to the end in orange.  In this specific Book of Mormon, I'm in 1 Nephi since I just started.  One thing I noticed is how much Nephi talks about faith.  That's just Nephi's thing--he is super faithful.  There are the other parts of the Doctrine of Christ in Nephi, but I feel like I could almost dip the entire book of Nephi in yellow and call it good.  I was thinking about that, and I realized a cool overarching theme of the Book of Mormon.  From 1 Nephi to Jacob, it's pretty safe to say that faith is the main theme.  Then as Enos begins keeping a record, he starts by praying for a remission of sin, then King Benjamin calls his people to repent, and you have the story of King Noah and those who don't repent, and eventually Alma the Younger who had a HUGE experience in repentance.  After that, Alma the Younger and others begin going to teach others and invite many souls to accept the Savior's invitation to be baptized.  That theme continues all the way through Helaman.  Then as the other Nephi and Lehi come along, you begin seeing the experiences that happen with the Gift of the Holy Ghost, including the Savior coming and giving the Holy Ghost to his disciples that He calls from the Nephites.  Finally, as more and more people become wicked, Mormon and Moroni teach us about enduring to the end.  When no one is left but them, they still "will not deny the Christ" (Moroni 1).  They continue to do what is right until they finish the work God gave them.  As I realized that, I realized that among all the intricate and complex story lines, the Book of Mormon ultimately is a story of the Doctrine of Christ.  This is just another testimony to me that it is divinely inspired and that it does contain the fullness of the Gospel.  I'm thankful for it.  I know it is true, and I am excited to continue learning all I can.  I love each of you so much and am more grateful for you than I could ever express!  Until next week!

Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ

Saving the duck

Sister Johnson and I with our duck rescuing friend

I got to hold a snake.

Top Golf on P-Day​​

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