Wednesday, June 7, 2017

YOU are Great

Hi Family!
Happy Monday!  I know you're all thinking, "Uhh, Sister Sabey.  It's Wednesday," but this week, we had to go a little bit like "Welcome to Nightvale" because Wednesday had to be cancelled due to scheduling conflicts.  Reasons?  Because we were lucky enough to have a member of the Seventy come address our mission.  He did that the last two days, so that made it so P-Day had to be moved to today.
Mom, I want to start out my letter with a shout out to you.  We had been helping a recent convert (Sue) clean her house, and I was in charge of mopping and sweeping.  Sue wanted me to pass along the message that my mother did a great job teaching me how to sweep and she wants to say thank you.
This area has been an adventure because I have an ever growing list of all the wrong ways you can pronouce Sabey.  I'll try to illustrate how they pronounce them, so hopefully you can understand. Most commonly, I get called Sister SAB-by, which I'm used to from before my mission.  However, recently, I've gotten called Sister Suh-BAY, and the new addition this week, Sister Shabby.  Sister Rogers has also been making her own list.  She is keeping track of every cartoon character I reminder her of, and I'm not sure how I feel about the list: Dory from Finding Nemo, Oh from Home, Olaf from Frozen, Donkey from Shrek, Madam Min from Sword in the Stone, Edna Mode from the Incredibles, King Julian from Madagascar, and Doug from Up.
Anyway, enough of that.  Let me tell you what actually happened this week.  We've started to get the ball rolling on teaching our first three missionary lessons to members.  Our ward mission leader in one of our four wards absolutely loves it.  One night we were teaching the Frost family.  What we've been doing in our lessons is we will teach the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then tell them about the Apostolic Promise, which says, "I promise you, as you pray to know with whom to speak, names and faces will come into your mind. Words to speak will be given in the very moment you need them. Opportunities will open to you. Faith will overcome doubt, and the Lord will bless you with your very own miracles."  Then we will have them pray and ask them who they think of.  It's been super incredible as we've invited people to do just that.  Ofttimes they will be startled by the name they think of.  It's been a really cool faith building experience for both us an the members.  Anyway, back to the Frost family.  We were teaching them, and they had just finished their prayer.  We sat in silence for about thirty seconds to just let revelation come and then, asked them who they were thinking of.  Without a moments pause, they oldest boy pipes up with the name of one of their neighbors.  Their oldest is about nine years old, and how quickly he answered surprised me.  Then I realized that he is the same age as Tanner, and I just got this amazing sense of awe for just how amazing the youth are.  Tanner Bug, you better pay attention to that bit--all of my siblings should pay attention to that bit.  You have a tremendous capacity to be a strong force for good.
Another night, we were back at Sue's house teaching her family.  Sue is an older lady who lives with her daughter, Brandy.  Sue takes care of her grandkids while Brandy is at work each day.  That night, the two kids were absolutely crazy for the entire time, except one moment during our lesson.  There was absolutely no noise as we quoted the First Vision.  Right afterwards, the craziness resumed, but it was so cool to feel the Spirit testify so strongly for that one moment.  We then were talking about the Book of Mormon.  Sue and Brandy are both converts, and Brandy is seriously the coolest ever.  She was telling us about experiences at work where people were trying to tell her what she believes, and she got to explain the Book of Mormon to them.  She has a little analogy that she will use to explain the relationship between the Bible and the Book of Mormon that I really liked.  She says the Bible is like the Lord of the Rings, and the Book of Mormon is like the Hobbit.  It's different stories, but all part of the same story.
On Sunday, we had Fast and Testimony meeting, and both Fuzzy and our friend Allison both decided to share their testimonies.  It was amazing.  Allison also had an experience of someone trying to tell her what Mormons believe, and even though she is still just learning, she got to defend what she does know.  She talked about how she had felt the Spirit and it was just a really cool testimony.  Fuzzy talked about how he had two experiences in his life that he had no idea what he was getting into when he started: dance and becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He talked about how dance had ended up being a really good experience that he loved, but how having the Gospel of Jesus Christ in his life to allow him to have spiritual nourishment has been even better.  Later that same day, Fuzzy was able to be ordained to the office of Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. Sister Rogers and I were just beaming the entire time they were talking and as Fuzzy was ordained.  It was definitely one of those moments where you realize that the work you do, even though it's hard, and even though you feel like you aren't actually contributing anything to those who do come to sing the song of redeeming love (Alma 5:26) because it's all the Spirit and all the missionary did was show up, it actually pays off.  I love it so much!
Then, like I mentioned earlier, yesterday, I got the incredible opportunity to learn at the feet of a General Authority.  Elder Pearson came, and I had high expectations after hearing Elder Cornish last year, but all my expectations were blown through the roof.  I had a couple questions and concerns I came to the meeting with, and all of them were just answered boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.  President and Sister Wheeler addressed us, and side note before I continue, Sister Rogers has pointed out that my favorite word to say is "great".   It started because back in Highland, I found out there was one elder who thought that there was absolutely nothing good to say about himself. Because of that, I decided that every time I saw him, I would say, "Elder Geiselmayr, you're great!" to which he would say, "Sister Sabey, YOU are great!"  So now in my head, I associate the word "great" with "hey, you're doing better than you think you are." But anyway, President and Sister Wheeler addressed us, and President Wheeler shared the scripture, "Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a GREAT work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is GREAT" (emphasis added by me). It was a tender mercy for me because it felt like my reminder from Heavenly Father, "Sister Sabey, YOU are great--you are doing a lot better than you think you are".
That was just the start of the meeting, so I could tell it was going to be good.  Sister Pearson talked about obedience and things to do every single day.  Although I strive to be exactly obedient, there were some things I definitely wanted to be better at, so that shot my next concern out of the sky and gave me the opportunity to receive revelation for how I would be better.  Then Elder Pearson spoke.  He spent the rest of the time talking and I took, I kid you not, PAGES of notes.  I wish I had a recording that I could just send to you, but as Elder Pearson said, "Recording General Authorities is against the Word of Wisdom". ( . . .?)  He spent before lunch talking about teaching effectively and the time after lunch talking about developing faith.  There are so many things that I learned, but for the sake of the computer, I'll just share the two things that impacted me the most.
First, he shared something that one of the Apostles had said during a meeting.  They were talking about how they were not such-and-such that became an Apostle.  Elder Nelson was not a cardiovascular surgeon who became an Apostle, Elder Oaks was not a Supreme Court Justice who became an Apostle, Elder Bednar was not a teacher who became an Apostle, and so on.  After going through every single one of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve, the Apostle said, "We are Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ who used to be someone else".  Then Elder Pearson said, "Whatever weaknesses you THINK you have, God knows otherwise."  I realized that like Christ said to Peter, I needed to leave my nets behind.  Not physical nets, but the mental nets that keep me from throwing myself into God's work when I get caught thinking, "I can't do that because I'm such and such".
The other thing he shared was contained in a 3x3 box.  He drew a tick-tack-toe board up on the white board and in the top left corner wrote "New".  He explained that every single missionary starts in that box.  Then in the top middle box he wrote, "Upcoming" as in those missionaries that just hit the ground running.  In the center box, he wrote, "Average" as in missionaries who settle into "this is good enough and I am content with just this".  Then in the left middle box, he wrote "casually or less obedient".  He said that from a new missionary, they all move into one of those three boxes.  From there, there were still five more boxes you could move into.  Along the bottom, from left to right, the boxes read, "Blatantly Disobedient", "Struggling", and "Followers".  Above "Followers" in the right middle box, he wrote "Obedient and Hardworking".  Then, what he said surprised me.  In the final, top-left box he wrote, "Outstanding Leaders".  He said that was not the most important box you could be in.  It is important, and a mission needs missionaries in that box, but the MOST important box you could be in was "obedient and hardworking" because these are the people who are committed to being available to the Lord no matter what.  These are the people that last.
So now my next question was, well what is a struggling missionary?  On the mission, one of my biggest fears was being labeled, "The Struggling Missionary", and if I felt like I was going through a hard time, I would get down on myself because obviously it meant that I was a struggling missionary.  I felt like I was still obedient and worked hard, but it seemed that those two couldn't be in the same box.  So which was I?  That answer didn't come from Elder Pearson, so I sat and continued to listen and ponder.  I pondered the rest of his morning address, went through lunch, and kept pondering into the afternoon portion.  He had moved onto talking about faith, and told an experience his son had had on his mission.  They had been trying to go door-to-door (also known as tracting) in an apartment complex, and everything that could have gone wrong did.  They had to get buzzed into the building.  The top floor, which is the floor they started at, had another door you had to get buzzed into.  They had someone threaten to call the cops on them. Twice.  And every time they hit opposition, they would pray to know if it was still Heavenly Father's will for them to be there and then kept going.  That's when the Spirit whispered an important truth to me.  "A struggling missionary is one who stops trying".  As amazing as Elder Pearson's addresses were, and as much as he was in tune with the Spirit to answer many of the questions I had, I realized that the Holy Ghost is the true teacher and that there is a Father in Heaven who was aware of my question to answer one thing that Sister Sabey needed to know.  That night we went out and worked, and I had a new confidence to go "forget myself and go to work".
I just want to tell you once again how grateful I am for this Gospel, Family.  I know I say that every week, but I am truly grateful for a Heavenly Father who is aware of me, and who gave me multiple experiences that led to the day when though His Spirit, a loving Heavenly Father gave me the reassurance that I needed by reminding me, "Sister Sabey, YOU are great."  Family, you are great too, and I love you more than I could ever say.
Sister Emily
1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ

More Curb Painting (Elder Brown)

Sister Rogers looking for the hole in her tire

Sister Sprouse and her two daughters (trainees), Sister Sabey and Sister Baker

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