Monday, April 14, 2014

Glad to know that Heavenly Father carries us when we're down.

This week was interesting for sure. We had interviews with President Toombs this week, I don't know if you ever did that on the mission, but it was a good experience. We were just able to talk about the work and about how I was doing personally. He said that Sister Grenfell and I were little miracle workers in the East Lake ward and he loves to keep track of us. I love President Toombs, no matter what numbers you report that week he loves you so much. I really feel like he is so much more proud of you every time you grow your testimony and learn more about who you are. He's amazing. 

This week we saw a lot of miracles as we set goals. This week our main focus was on referrals. We set a goal to get 35 referrals, five per day. By the end of the week we received 28. Even though the number goal wasn't reached, it was awesome to see how many people had friends and neighbors brought into their mind when we asked who we could go share the gospel with. We are preparing for a tri-ward open house in which people have invited friends and neighbors to tour our church building to see what happens there and the things we teach and programs we have. All the missionaries in each ward are really excited about it. 

On the 10th we had Zone meeting which is a lot like district meeting, just with the whole zone. We were trained mostly on the Atonement and the question of, "Is the Atonement fresh for you?". It was a really great meeting and I learned a lot. But I thought about the question too and I didn't really know how to answer it. At first I thought yes, then no, then I was just really unsure. I understand that there are two parts of the Atonement, the cleansing and enabling parts. I know I'm not perfect because I'm not translated but I also know that I probably use the enabling part more than the cleansing part, but at the same time I didn't understand how the enabling power of the Atonement is really felt. With sinning there are steps that you take to become clean, six steps in particular, but the enabling power doesn't really come through steps, it comes to every person differently. So this week I really thought a lot about the Atonement and how it works for me. David A. Bednar said the Atonement is meant to make bad men good (cleansing power) and good men better (enabling power). To me this means its meant for sin and for sorrow, for the sinner and the saint. Sister Grenfell and I spent a couple days studying it in personal and companionship study. We even drew a crazy diagram to help us understand it logically. We prayed to feel it more in our lives and we even took the challenge it give in Preach My Gospel to repent daily. After this week however, I don't think the Atonement can be logically studied, it has to be felt to make sense. 

Saturday we had a lot to do to get ready for the baptism, we had to fill the font, follow up with those who were bringing refreshments, practice the song we we planned to sing, SO MUCH CRAZINESS. The baptism was at 1 and it was about 12:45 and people were showing up. We had texted Carissa in the morning to see if she needed help getting ready for her day. She hadn't responded so around 12:50 we headed to her house to help her get all her kiddos ready and in the car. We showed up to her house and she wasn't there, her car wasn't there, her lights were off, the whole bit. We started to worry a little and decided to drive back to the church to see if she had showed up. She wasn't there either and so we counselled with the Bishop and to what we should do and we decided to start with the baptism with the faith that she would show up. Sister Grenfell and I had to tell all the people who showed up that Carissa and Ryan weren't here but that we were going to carry on like they were with faith that they'd come. There were 57 people there from the ward, pretty good turn out. With our hearts in our stomachs, we sat and listened to the speakers give their talks and we sang the hymns and by the time Sister Grenfell and I got up there to sing there wasn't a dry eye in the room. We both had to pull ourselves together, we felt so disappointed and so heartbroken, but we sang and it sounded decent. Bishop was the last one to speak and he stood up and opened the font, talk about a blow to your tear ducts, we all looked at the water that was empty and Bishop talked about how this is exactly how our Heavenly Father feels about us. He waits for us to make covenants with him, he waits to see us make good choices and come one step closer to Him. We were able to experience some of the pain He feels when we use our agency to get farther away. He really did a great job at bringing it all together. As much as we could hardly focus on the words anyone was saying, so many people felt the spirit that day. We still haven't heard from Carissa, her phone is off, and she isn't home. But something Sister Grenfell and I learned was how real the enabling power of the Atonement was. Even though its been a couple days I know for a fact that without the Atonement we wouldn't be out teaching and doing our best to try and find others who are prepared, we wouldn't be able to think straight or have the spirit with us. Its still hurting inside, but we are moving on and doing all that we can to press forward and be okay. We were able to get priesthood blessings directly following the service from three sets of elders who were also all at the baptism. It was a good chance for us to all come together and feel of the love Heavenly Father had for all of us as missionaries. The thornton elders taught Carissa before we did and Elder Rampton was supposed to baptize Ryan so it affected more than just us Sisters. But something Elder Potts said after the blessings really stuck with me and helped me realize why this might have happened. He said, "I don't think its any coincidence that this happened right after you were both trying to understand the enabling power of the Atonement." We both agreed and we are both being strengthened by it. We are hoping to be in touch with Carissa soon, and any prayers you could send her way would be great.  
I know that my redeemer lives, and loves me. I know I'm here in Colorado for a reason, I know the Lord is proud of me and that you're proud of me. And I know I'm doing my best and that's what counts. I love you so much and am thankful for the example you are to me of never giving up and for all your help and prayers that have brought me to where I am. XOXO 

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