This week was pretty good. We're still kind of in a rut, but this morning we had a great companionship study and we found a lot of things that we can improve upon and change to be able to reach our goals. Like Derek said, sometimes we fall into selfish patterns that don't really help us accomplish our purpose as missionaries. Even though we all make sacrifices for the Lord, as missionaries and just as members of the church in general, we've got to remember that we're doing HIS work, and this is an opportunity we've been given. Our own experience--good or bad--should never be the focus. If we're not having success, then there are things we can focus on changing in order to bring our will in line with the Lord's, rather than just beating ourselves up and getting depressed and distracted. Derek's right--blaming ourselves can turn into a form of selfishness! We should try and think outside of ourselves and focus on doing the will of the Lord, not on how bad/awesome/hardworking/stupid/whatever we are. When we're focused on truly doing what the Lord wants, and in the way in which He wants it done, other things naturally follow and our hard work brings forth fruit and we feel of His approval. This week we had exchanges, which is always a good experience. I got to go to the Other Side (of the bay)! It was my first experience outside of the Richmond/Concord area and it was really interesting. It's so strange to me that our mission is so tiny geographically, but culturally it covers nations. I was in San Mateo for a day with Sister Wakefield, Sister Osborn's companion. I always learn a lot from Sister Wakefield. She's a missionary that's dedicated and focused. I learned a lot from her on this exchange about being bold and not worrying so much about what I'm doing "wrong." We all have weaknesses and things that we need to improve, but that should never distract us or keep us from accomplishing our purpose as missionaries. We talked a lot about the power and authority of a missionary's calling. We have been called and set apart for this work. The Lord is on our side, and if we're diligent and obedient, we really can't go wrong! Sometimes success doesn't come in the forms we want it to, but we can always feel satisfied if we've truly done all that we can. That's something I struggle with--and I think our whole family does really, haha--but it's true that really trusting in the Savior means trusting that He will help us overcome our weaknesses and imperfections. That's why we have the Atonement! Of course we need to do all we can, but then we need to depend on Him to really utilize and appreciate His sacrifice. We had to drop one of our investigators that we've been teaching for about 8 weeks. This breaks my heart because I know he knows that the Book of Mormon is true and that everything we've shared with him comes from God. He has very deep Catholic roots and he's just not ready to change. There are some things that he just doesn't want to give up. We've been running around in the same crazy circle with him for a while now and it's time to let go. He's not coming to church and he's not allowing himself to grow beyond the point he's reached. This man will be baptized someday! I feel like I can literally see the day when he'll enter the waters of baptism. I feel a really special love for [E] and his wife. I feel like I've known them my whole life and I know we are the missionaries who were supposed to start teaching them. [E] might not be baptized now, but he'll be baptized when he's ready. In other news, [J] and [B] received the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday! They showed up late to sacrament meeting, and then the bishopric forgot completely that they were supposed to be confirmed (sometimes telling people 2 weeks, then 1 week, and then 1 day, and then 1 hour in advance just isn't enough, hahaha :P ), so they were confirmed in the bishop's office afterward. The things that happen on a mission are so interesting! This morning I was thinking about my mission and I thought about how REAL this all is. There's nothing more important than sharing the gospel, whether we're full-time missionaries or not. Sharing the gospel is always a refining experience. It shows us our weaknesses and our fears, and it makes us turn to the Lord! That's what this whole existence, and the missionary experience within that existence, is about--a time to repent and serve God. What a gift! The plan of salvation is real. We have a Heavenly Father, and He loves us! That's why we have everything--the Savior, the scriptures, our families, this earth--because He loves us and has prepared great blessings for us.