Hey hey err'body! I have tons and tons of stuff to say and I'm praying that the Spirit is going to help me with this. This week has been a very humbling, yet fulfilling, one. I just love everything right now.
I've been anticipating transfer calls all week. I knew that most likely I'd be leaving Farmington so I've been reflecting a lot on what I've learned the past 6 months here in this area.
For every transfer in Farmington, I've tried to put a meaningful quote on my planner; something for me to live by and achieve. Although my initial thought process was "I'll see the quote everyday and hopefully that'll do something", I never actually thought about what those chosen quotes/themes for the transfer have done for me. I didn't realize what it has actually done until after my exchange experience.
On Tuesday we were on exchanges, and I had the privilege to go to Glen Carbon (my last area) again with Sister Webster. That area is on FIRE! The last time I went there for exchanges, Sis Webster and I went to see all of my old investigators. This time, we mostly saw their people. I was just brimming with joy the whole time. Their were times it was a little awkward because I didn't know their investigators too well, but I couldn't help but just smile so hard inside. I know that the Lord sends specific missionaries at a specific time to meet specific people and help them with their specific needs. There are no accidents. The Lord knows what He's doing. At one point, Sister Webster turns to me and says, "so what do you feel like Heavenly Father has been teaching you?" I thought about it (because lets be honest, I tend to babble for quite a bit if I don't organize my thoughts :p), and I started telling her all the things I've been learning about myself (all the stuff I've been sharing in my emails with you the past few weeks) and how the Lord has helped me realize how I work/learn, how to deal with it, and how to be confident with it so I can share it with others. I was telling her about my experience at David's appointment and shared with her my thoughts about what I was like when I first came out here and how different I view my mission now. The next day during exchange inventory, Sis Webster starts talking and all of a sudden....she's crying. I'm sitting there looking super concerned, but she just went on saying all these nice things. But what stood out to me the most was when she said, "you can tell by the way you treat people and by the way you talk about the Gospel that you have tried to become exactly what Heavenly Father wants you to be and that you've really developed your relationship with Him" She said some other stuff, but that part was what got me crying. I told her afterwards that I really appreciated that because sometimes I'm super hard on myself and think I'm still so far from where I need to be. Why it meant a lot to me was because of what my "theme quote" was for this transfer:
The front of my planner are lyrics to a song that Sudweeks and Rouse had composed when we were serving together here: "My fears are washed away when you say, 'Child of Mine, you are Divine. I am on your side'. 'Father, I know; here, watch me grow! I am on Your side." Then on the back I had a quote from Elder Bednar that said, "I will strive to become what I should and must become". That was from a talk he gave when he first got called as an Apostle and he talked about finding strength from the Lord to fulfill his new calling.
My reasons for setting that as my theme for this transfer was because I wanted to always be reminded that this isn't about what I want and what I think is best for me. It was about having a "Thy will be done" attitude and becoming what the Lord wanted me to become in those 6 weeks. It was also a reminder that no matter what happens, the Lord is on my side and that He is helping me and cheering me on every step of the way. Sooo that meant a lot to me.
I've been reflecting on what my other Farmington planners have said (which I don't have pictures of and JUST mailed in a package home so I can't look at them -_-") and realized how they've been an underlying factor of what I've been trying to become and accomplish.
Right after my experience of being in a tri, it was:
"You're braver that you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think" with D&C 123:17: "let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed" at the back.
Throughout that transfer it reminded me that there's more Heavenly Father expects and more the He requires, but also that I had to do all the He asks with a cheerful heart.
And when I started training, it was a photo of the Bassett girls each wearing my glasses in the front and on the back:
"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love".
Throughout that transfer it reminded me that even though I feel inadequate on my own and feel like I don't have any talents or capabilities whatsoever to do this work, I know that at least I can love. And that's what qualifies us for the work. And with the Lord's help that love can become charity, the pure love of Christ.
Anyway, it was just an eye-opener to me how we all change little by little. Sometimes we don't recognize it, but the small increments of growth accumulate together in the long run. It comes from our intentions, our goals, our worthy desires, and it's all about "what am I going to do this day, this hour, this minute, to show Heavenly Father that I love Him and that I am His".
Yesterday was my last Sunday in Farmington. I cannot believe the amount of tears that came out of my face. Leaving every area and the people there is always hard. But I have never cried so much in front of the members before about leaving. The Farmington Ward has been SUCH a blessing to serve in. I just love everyone here so extremely much. I don't even know how I got so lucky to have the privilege to serve here around and with them. I've been having anxiety all week because this transfer isn't going to be just another area. It'll probably be my last. And it KILLS me inside to think that this mission experience will soon be coming to an end. It absolutely breaks my heart that in 4 months I have to remove this tag (and I don't care if you all think 4 months is still a lot of time. TO ME ITS NOT ;-;).
During Gospel Principles we talked about sacrifice. Tons of stuff were buzzing through my head, especially because of all that has happened in the last few weeks with all the miracles that we've seen. Then a thought that Sister Toombs had shared with me back in January when I first got to Farmington popped into my head. She told me about a Sister Missionary who bore her testimony right before going home and said, "My mission is not a sacrifice". When she told me that, I remember thinking, "wow, I wish I could say that." Because with everything that had gone on right before I came into Farmington, I had just gotten over being bitter about a lot of things and was in the middle of the healing process. The thought made my heart sink and I honestly thought I'd never be able to say what that Sister had said. But as I was sitting there in Gospel Principles, and reflecting on everything that has happened in the past 14 months, I realized my mission really isn't a sacrifice. I didn't realize I reached that point in pivotal perspective. So I put my hand up to make a comment about sacrifices and how the Lord requires us to give up some things than can be harmful to us, but sometimes He requires us to sacrifice even worthy pursuits because He knows what we need at the time, even if we don't understand why. I just briefly shared my experience in choosing to serve a mission, and I'm starting to cry a little bit because I'm still flabbergasted that I'm finally realizing that this isn't a sacrifice at all.
Then all of a sudden Sis Hargiss says, "now hold on a minute. If Sister Limas decided not to come on a mission..." and then she starts crying and telling everyone what she feels like I've done for this ward and the blessing that I've been to this area. As if I wasn't crying enough already, I just started bawling. Then she let me finish what I was saying, and I said: even though it may have felt like at different times that I was making a huge sacrifice, it really isn't. Not when you look at it on the long-run. Because Heavenly Father knows what's best for each of us. That's when sacrifice becomes sacred.
And I just want to testify to that again. This mission experience is not a sacrifice. This mission experience has been able to help me grow and learn and strengthen myself in ways Heavenly Father only knows best. When I first got out on the mission I mentioned how it was a sacred experience to be able to be a part of the journey of someone who is coming to know Jesus Christ. But now I see that part of what has made the experience go from a sacrifice to a sacred experience for me is because of the purifying process that has taken place. Reflecting back on my past few planners and what my hopes and intentions were for my attitude toward the work, I've realized that I've been able to reach them. I've been able to let the Lord mold me. Don't get me wrong, there's still TONS more molding to do. And boy, do I look forward to it. But there is just so much peace that I've felt over the past few weeks of Heavenly Father's love and approval and I am just brimming with so much love right now. For everything and everyone.
I had requested a blessing of comfort and council from Bro Gratton because I was feeling the anxiety all week and I was just so emotional on Sunday morning. We went over for it to be the last thing on our plans that night. I am so grateful for worthy Priesthood holders. I can't even express that enough. I have depended on them countless amount of times since I've been out here. Anyway, it was a beautiful blessing, but the one thing that stood out to me was, "it's good that you're feeling the anxiety. That shows how much you love your mission". I started to tear up because for a long time, I felt like I was trying so hard to stay positive and optimistic to prove to Heavenly Father that I really do enjoy being out here. And maybe for a while I was trying to prove it to myself. So to hear that felt like, once again, like a hole I didn't know was there was being filled.
So my art for this up coming transfer?
"I will not boast of myself but I will boast of my God for in His strength I can do all things". &
"Upon the Rock of our Redeemer" &
"I am with the faithful always".
To remind me of all the miracles, the tears, the blessings, the trials, and the joys of the past 4 transfers. D&C 62 has become such a special section to me and has got me through a lot. But no matter what, the Lord promises that He is with the faithful always. No matter what comes with this new transfer and area and with the mission coming closely to an end, He's with me. That's all that matters. If that's what the planner says, I'll get 'er done ;)
HAHAAAA...wow, sorry I didn't intend for that to be as long as it was. You're probably wondering the transfer doctrine! I'm white-washing into (no surprise there....): Charleston, IL!!! Which is soooooooooooooooo far away. BUT! I used to be in the same district as the Charleston sisters when I was serving in Paris...so I'm only 40 minutes away from my first area :D Also, Charleston has a university! That means opportunities to do street contacting with students, baby! Aw yah! And it'll be the first time I'm serving in a ward with Elders. Errrrr. I guess we'll see what happens haha.
Other tender mercies:
* I've been shown time and time again that the Spirit also helps with temporal things. I don't know how it happened, but I actually played pretty decent in soccer. I'm pretty sure it was the Spirit.
* James brought his wife and youngest son to church!!!! Oh my heart! It made me so happy! And Ananda brought the friend Kate to church too!
* 6 new investigators this week. Holy what? We added up numbers and we're like, "how did this happen??"
* Just so so so many good lessons this week! Ah I just love it!
* We've been finishing up our training and watching The District DVDs. Now that I've been out for 14 months, I finally understand what those missionaries are talking about. I agree. There is nothing more satisfying or fulfilling than doing the Lord's work.
* President talked with us on the phone yesterday. He asked about transfers and he said, "Sister Limas, that's a huge compliment that you've white washed into every one of your areas. The Lord just trusts you and knows you can get it done".
* While I was on exchanges in Glen Carbon, I found out that Carla Johnson is getting baptized on August 10th!!!!!!! I don't know if you remember this, but my first teaching appointment with Carla Johnson left me spiritually exhausted because the Spirit was completely guiding how I was to teach to her boyfriend Dale Haynes (does this sound familiar? Maybe?) Anyway, soon after our first lesson with them I was transferred. OK, so as a missionary you get used to the fact that the majority of the time you will never see the fruits of your labors. Ever. And it's fine. You know there's more work to do. But it was just such a tender mercy to see what has transpired with her over the past 6 months. She's so strong! And I didn't even think she would remember me, but she did, and invited me to her baptism, which was super touching.
....Ok there's a ton more, but I've already written more than I have time for haha. I need to start packing!!!!
Hope you all have a fab week!