1st. I opened my Mission Call ONE YEAR AGO! What the heck!
This week was a BLUR! Getting a new companion straight from the MTC is something that will keep me going I have found. She is great. Her name is Sister Burdette from Utah, and has 5 younger siblings. All of them are adopted including her. She is also gluten free which I thought was funny since MY trainer was gluten free. Maybe it's a sign that I need to eat less wheat;) She went to beauty school and graduated in 2013, and has been doing a great job this last week. I know she is going to be a great missionary.
We both were able to branch out and meet more of the ward members during the week- setting up appointments and stopping by. I've found that short visits with the members and asking them about their personal lives leads them to trust us and want us around. Sister Burdette and I want to meet everyone in the ward and make sure that we build up that trust! People have been so kind and considerate towards her food allergy; one lady bought her a ton of gluten free groceries for her first week, and the other members have made pizza, chicken pad thai, Zoodles (noodles that are actually zuccini) and other things that are all gluten free! We are blessed.
We had interviews with the Mission President and his wife this week (which was great) and we talked more about conversion. I had a little realization driving one day, that if I were to never be a part of someones conversion story on my mission, I would walk away from this experience more converted than I would have been if I had stayed home. I have been learning a lot about the dedication that the disciples of Christ had, while reading in the New Testament. They were so converted that they were willing to put up with all types of persecution, long journeys, leaving family, and all material things. Not only can we learn how to be Christlike as we study the scriptures, but we can learn HOW to be better disciples of Christ by reading and pondering them.
This lesson was meant for ME. Because this week I faced a challenge that I had never before dealt with on my mission. I have been serving for almost 9 months and I have run into some southerners who don't agree with our faith, but have been cordial about it. Well, this was not the case for the first time I took Sister Burdette out tracting.
On Saturday we happened to knock on a door that was home to the most Mormon bashing, condemning, loud and boisterous, damning people in the south. Oh it was so bad. I left that contact crying...of course after leaving because I had too much personal pride. Anyways. There was so much contention, finger pointing, negative speaking and hard questions coming from them that whole time; I was completely overwhelmed. Our M.P. said in those situations you don't do anything but bear testimony and try and build common ground. Don't feed the fire. And that is exactly what we did. They wouldn't let us leave. They kept going and going and going. After they told me that my God isn't the real God and I'm going to drink His wrath on Judgement day I got up and took Sister Burdette and we walked out. They asked us to come back but that wasn't going to happen. I have never been so shaken before. I felt like I didn't know how to defend my faith, and they threw everything back at my face and everything they said was followed by, "Because that's in the Bible." When we left the house the wife said, "Sorry about the mess...but my daughter just reminds me it's going to burn one day. And that's true because it's in the Bible." The whole time they were telling us to stop reading the Book of Mormon and to only read the Bible and kept urging us to listen to them because they were right. I told them they weren't going to convert me, because I had received personal revelation that this was true. And they pretended to not know what I was talking about.
SO. That whole day I just felt sick to my stomach and by the time we got home for the night I was just so confused and upset and lost. They had really shook me and I was afraid that they may have taken a hit to my testimony. In my prayers I cried out to the Lord to help me. To take those feelings away. And once they left, all my doubts turned into faith. Fierce faith. I remembered all the joy this gospel has brought me. It's simple. It's merciful. I feel good because of it. And that's all I needed. Prayer is real; revelation is real. And I am so grateful that I was able to turn a bad situation into a testimony building one.
"If we can stand without shame, without hesitancy, without embarrassment, without reservation to bear witness that the gospel has been restored, that there are prophets and Apostles upon the earth, that the truth is available for all mankind, the Lord’s Spirit will be with us. And that assurance can be affirmed to others." I add my testimony to this, what Elder Packer has said. I love my Savior. And for Him I will do this.