I love hearing about what you're studying (I actually listened to that same talk last week by Elder Oaks and thought about our family) and that you are so motivated to be healthy. When I'm taking care of my body, I feel better, more motivated, and confident. Physical and spiritual nourishment are so important and I know it really contributes to our happiness. Keep it up!
It snowed a bunch here this week (currently is -3 degrees) so we didn't go running this week, but I decided to work on my eating habits and then in addition to our morning workout, if we were just at lunch or about to go to bed, I do some exercises.
So, these past few weeks we thought we were off the hook for a cold winter, because we really haven't had that much snow and it hasn't been that cold, but then this week starting on Thursday it just snowed, and snowed, and kept on snowing! For the first few hours it wasn't sticking at all, but then on Friday we ended up shoveling the church with the other missionaries and two members (8 of us total) and it took a few hours. Yikes! It is nothing compared to what I hear is going on in New York and other places in the states, but it still was a shock to wake up to this week. Everything has kind of frozen over right now, but even though I don't love the cold, I love how beautiful and white it is outside. Bittersweet blessings. :)
This week has been really good. We have talked a lot about working harder, but also working smarter. So, just because we're out walking around and making ourselves busy, doesn't mean we're really using our time effectively. We have started using our area book more (just where old missionaries who served here keep records of who they taught in the past with names, addresses and phone numbers) and we found a guy, D, back from 2006 who the missionaries taught for a whole year, but he didn't feel ready to get baptized. We called him up and he met with us this past week and it was such a good lesson. He talked about how he didn't believe in coincidences and that he was meant to meet with us. He obviously has some concerns, but it was so good meeting with him and he wants to keep meeting with us. He is so prepared!
We also have started to try to use the English database that I made for the mission more regularly and we only made 10 phone calls from it this week and we asked them all if they wanted to learn more about the church, and 2 of them agreed to lessons this week. Such a higher success rate in contrast to tracting or contacting (where if a 100 doors are knocked on, 1 person lets you in). We have like 150 people we need to call, so I'll see if that ratio holds up. That would be wonderful. We'd have more investigators than we'd really know what to do with!
Da, one of our members, had a going away party for his mission this week at the church. There were a bunch of investigators there and it was such a good activity. Everyone in the branch is so proud of him and he will be such a great missionary!
We had some really great lessons this week, and more of our focus is shifting to working with our less-actives. I cannot believe how many we have! So many of them were the pioneers for the church here and then fell away. I have thought a lot about Oliver Cowdery and the other early pioneers of the church who also fell away. Unfortunately, a lot of people here have fallen away for a comment someone made, because they didn't keep exercising their faith. President Rowe talks a lot about building the faith of those around us and how we can help people to be more deeply rooted in the gospel, so that's one thing that we always think about before we go into a lesson. Will their interaction with us help them to build their faith and help them feel the spirit? I've started to think about that in terms of all my relationships with members, other missionaries and my companion-- will their time with me help to build their faith and strengthen them? It's been so good for me to think about and I'm trying to be more proactive about doing that in every situation.
Yesterday in Relief Society we had a lesson about the importance of forgiveness. R, a university student here, taught about how it's important to let go of any pain, anger or frustration we may currently be feeling towards another person, because that hurt ends up just eating away at us over time. I thought about how it has taken me a long time to forgive that one girl who was really mean to me when dad was sick and when I was in high school in France. Just before he passed away, she found out that he was sick and she told me she felt awful for being so mean. Still, for a long time after that, l felt so angry at her and I held onto a lot of that frustration. I love the example of Nephi in the scriptures, after his brothers have bound him up, abused him, and mocked him relentlessly, after they ended up releasing him, it says that "Nephi frankly forgave." Such a good example to me! I think that we can still remember those experiences that we went through, but, like Alma the younger felt after he repented, we are "no longer harrowed up" by the remembrance of them. I have come to know that forgiveness is a form of repentance-- that we actually change a part of ourselves in the process and come closer to God through that experience. We let God take our burdens and pain that we may be carrying around and we choose happiness and relief.
Mom, I love you so much! I hope you have a great week!
S ljubavlju uvijek,