Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A week full of spiritual (and Tongan) feasts

Like Derek said about his last week, this week was jam-packed with so many things, I almost can't believe it all fit into one week.
Nancy is doing great!  We had a lesson with her on Monday about the 10 commandments, and all on her own she came to the conclusion that we shouldn't pray in front of a crucifix or work on the Sabbath.  She's so prepared and understands the principles behind all of the commandments so easily, and then accepts them with a lot of faith and a willing heart.  She's very solid for her baptismal date of October 21st.  She's already very committed to not working on Sundays and she's in a position where she'll be able to ensure that she has Sundays off, starting in a couple weeks.  It's such a blessing to be able to share the gospel with her and see the very sincere faith that she's showing as she accepts it.  Thank you for all of your prayers in her behalf!  I've felt a little disappionted because I haven't been able to teach Nancy very many times up to this point since I've been out of the area on exchanges for the majority of her lessons.  It wasn't planned that way, but it just happened to work out like that.  I might have even been feeling a little jealous that I couldn't be there to have spiritual experiences with her and Sis. Osborn and the members during the lessons.  But the great thing is that even if I can't be there for every lesson, we still get to be a part of each others' lives and the work I'm doing outside of the area is still the same beautiful work.  There are always different things we sometimes have to give up, even if they're good things, as part of serving, and I need to learn to appreciate all of the opportunities and blessings that I have, and not focus on the things I'm "missing out" on.
We also got to go to the temple this week!  It was so wonderful to go back to the temple and realize the bigger "whys" of the gospel.  Everything we do in the church leads us to the temple and the beautiful promises and blessings we receive as we make covenants there, and I think that was made more clear to me this time as we went to the temple.  It was interesting to me that even though I wasn't there with any of my family members in the temple, I felt close to each of you, and even to our family members who are on the other side of the veil, as I thought about the gospel and the plan that Heavenly Father has given us, and the covenants that literally bind us together.  There is no greater blessing than having those eternal ties.  Our bishop talked about the temple in the 5th Sunday class yesterday, and how those covenants and ordinances should change the way we see and do everything.  Thinking about those blessings and promises makes everything we do have so much more significance, even things like going to work or doing the laundry.  Even day-to-day temporal activities help us to be able to focus on acheiving our eternal spiritual goal of being together as a family forever.  The gospel is true, and the covenants we can make with Heavenly Father change EVERYTHING.  I want to understand that better in my life and be a better teacher as I talk about covenants with those we visit.  There's no greater joy than drawing closer to Heavenly Father and leaving the rest of it behind.
On Wednesday I got to go to the Tongan program on exchanges!  It was pretty awesome. :)  I thought people were exaggerating when they talked about how much food they give you... they weren't exaggerating.  I went to a missionary correlation meeting with the ward, and after the meeting they had a "snack."  On my plate, they put a giant chunk of pie probably 8 inches long, two chicken salad sandwiches on French bread, and 8 or 9 scones.  Then they gave me a big glass of Otai (look it up and make it!  It's soooo good!) and sent us out the door so we could eat our "snack."  My companion that day said, "oh good, they're giving us light food!"  Wow!  Another thing that was amazing and not exaggerated is the singing of the Tongan members.  WOW.  Even in the lessons we taught in members' homes, the harmonies and their beautiful voices floored me.  I almost started crying during the opening song at correlation meeting.  So awesome!  And it just comes out naturally!  Amazing!
We also got to watch the Relief Society broadcast on Saturday.  It was so great!  It's like a sneak-peek of General Conference.  I loved hearing the sisters talk so earnestly and sincerely about the power of the Atonement.  I realized that I need to do more to help others feel of the depth of the power of the Atonement, whether I'm teaching someone who's been a member for 30 years or someone who's talking to missionaries for the very first time.

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