I am grateful that deep clean P-day is over. It was exhausting. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be though because we keep the apartment clean week by week so that we can have fun later in the day with the Elders in Bemidji and not worry about coming home to a mess or not having the spirit completely in our apartment. Today will be exchanges after P-day is over so that Elder White, our district leader, can interview Mia Sargeant for baptism. She is getting baptized this Saturday and is being confirmed on EASTER!! That's awesome and a day that she will always remember.
On Tuesday I decided to make some butter from whipping cream. It was good. We are still using it. I also decided to make for breakfast some Carmel rolls. They turned out great! It involved the rest of the whipping cream and brown sugar.
We finally made it back to Thief River on Wednesday to help the work up there. We ran into a Pastor for a Lutheran church who was legally blind and had a golden retriever for her sight dog. It was interesting to talk to her. On the way there, because this day was 70 degrees and very nice, we saw a lot of mini lakes in fields around the highway due to all the snow that had melted. I thought to myself, no wonder Minnesota is called the Land of 10,000 Lakes! After we came back we cleaned out the baptismal font so that it will be clean for Mia on Saturday. We also learned that it takes about 4 hours to fill up and that the water in Clearbrook where the font is, is clean, but it is also colored green. I laughed at Elder Smith's face when he saw it because he is the one going down into the water to baptize Mia.
On Thursday we helped out at the senior center. We sorted apples, cleaned floors, scrubbed down the kitchen sinks, and helped bleach the chairs to kill the germs so that we could set the table for lunch. We were fed again by them so we didn't complain at all. It was a lot of fun and now more people in the community are noticing us and saying hello.
Friday was another Zone Training Meeting in Fargo. It focused on helping us as missionaries have greater and enhanced personal and companion studies. The part of the day that is the most important is the hours from 6:30-10:00 where we prepare for the day and study for the needs of the day. I have often found that when we study well and seek inspiration, we learn in our studies exactly what we need to know to have a successful day. It has made a huge difference having that study in my life. It helps me love the scriptures and use them to gain inspiration in my life to deal with the challenges that come. It has also helped me know our savior Jesus Christ more personally and appreciate his sacrifice for us. I have been changed not because I am serving a mission; I have been changed mainly because of my studies of the scriptures. Anyone missionary or not can experience this change as they read daily and study from the scriptures. I saw it with Jerry and I am continuing to see it throughout the mission and with the people we work with.
We notice that investigators we study for, understand clearly the doctrines while others feel rushed, confused, and lost. To help others progress we must study. A lot of attention is going into chapter 2 of Preach My Gospel. As a result, I feel better about each day and the challenges that lie ahead and I am more confident in the work. It is the spiritual nourishment that we need each day much like food for physical nourishment. I've studied much about covenants to help Mia understand their sacred nature. As I have searched for definitions and ways to apply this in my own life I have been greatly blessed. I feel better each day and as we work hard my sleep has been sweet. (Ecclesiastes 5:12). I also have realized that afflictions are for our learning. I have gained many attributes as a direct result of a weakness I've had to endure. After ZTM I rededicated myself to the work in obedience, service, longsuffering, and patient perseverance. I want what the Lord wants and this was the only way to accomplish that: to consecrate myself. It has required sacrifice, but the result (change) is worth it.
Saturday was spent most of the day raking leaves for President Niswander. It was exhausting and actually provided a great workout.
On Sunday we spoke again in sacrament meeting and taught temple preparation class. Our talks were focused on what we learned from General Conference. I spoke on Elder Bednar's talk and also on the importance of learning not just learned from conference. In other words continue to study the talks and apply them into your life. General Conference does not mean anything unless we apply it into our lives and allow it to change us. I know this to be true. I am excited to get the ensign next month and also to be able to print talks off from LDS.org. After Church we met with Mia again to review with her the Baptismal interview questions and resolve any final concerns she has to being baptized. As we talked with her, I felt the power of the Spirit. She didn't quite understand tithing, but as we testified with power and authority using experiences from our own lives, the spirit was able to enlighten her mind and she gladly accepted the commitment to pay tithing after she is baptized. I have a testimony of tithing. It has helped me to be frugal with my money. The Lord blesses us in both seen and unseen ways as we pay tithing and show our faith in Him. He blesses us with more faith and an increased knowledge of spiritual truths.
I am very grateful to be serving a mission. I know that the work we are doing is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I love Him. I am grateful for all of you. I love each of you so much. I know that as we work together to serve the Lord, great miracles will be performed for the benefit of all our brothers and sisters.
With great love,