I can't think of a subject for this email because this week was full of many varied and unusual experiences. Sister Osborn asked me this morning what good things I would write about in my email home this week, and I couldn't really label anything from this week as "good" or "bad." So I guess I'll just tell you what happened!
This week exchanges were a little bit crazy. I was here in our area with a brand new missionary, and her enthusiasm for being part of the work just blew me, and everyone else, away. She's a great example of being truly excited to serve the Lord. My personality might not be as "excitable" as hers, but I definitely learned that I need to always keep in remembrance that there is nothing better than being able to serve the Lord and God's children. From Wednesday to Thursday I was in the San Francisco Chinese program. We did a street display in Chinatown for two hours in the wind and rain. We were trying to spread interest for the English class that the Chinese district uses to find new investigators. I think I said "Free English class!" in Cantonese about 7,000 times. I wished I had the ability to actually talk to people instead of just handing them a flyer, but I did what I could when English-speakers passed by.
Friday brought one of the most intense exchanges I've had so far. There was a lot of disobedience going on with one of the missionaries in the companionship, and President Meredith had asked for our help in investigating the extent of the problem a little bit. I was here in San Mateo with the companion who was struggling because her companion was being disobedient. It was heartbreaking to see how much the actions of the other companion were hurting this sister, as well as hurting the members and the sister herself. I don't think we ever understand the extent of the influence our actions have, good or bad. It was a blessing to be able to help this sister, who has literally been suffering all transfer. After we ended the exchange we had a chance to talk with President Meredith about the future of the mission and what changes will be made with the sisters who are coming in. It's so exciting! It gives me chills to think about how many good experiences and miracles are in store for the sisters who are coming in and the sisters who will be training.
Sunday was a little disappointing. We had talked with Livorio the night before church, as well as Sunday morning before church, and he was very solid and was fully planning on arriving at church. We waited and waited for him, but he never showed up. Then we went by for our lesson in the evening after church, and he wasn't there. It was strange because we had driven by his house just 5 minutes before arriving for the lesson, and we saw that his car was in the driveway. When we got there for the lesson, his car was gone and so was he. He didn't answer our calls either. :( We're not sure what happened, but we're going to do everything we can and trust that the Lord has great things in store for him. Livorio is a great person and has felt the difference the gospel can make in his life. We'll keep praying for him and trying to have contact, and in the meantime keep searching for more people who are ready to accept the gospel.
This week has been a week of re-evaluation for me. Things are still going slow in the area, and I've realized that instead of getting frustrated and just plodding forward, this is an opportunity to re-assess my teaching abilities, my self-discipline, and--most importantly--my personal faith in the Savior and His work. There's a phrase that a sister in the ward here uses that's going to be my theme for this week: "Arriba y adelante!" ("Upward and onward!") That's the purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ: to help us not just pass the time here on this earth, but to reach upward toward our potential as sons and daughters of God, and to move onward from the mistakes and weaknesses of the past by utilizing the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Enduring to the end should be joyful and full of satisfaction, despite trials and disappointments. As I was reading this morning in Preach My Gospel, I encountered a quote that goes along really well with this:
Ensign, Nov. 1999, 59–60).President James E. Faust taught:“Hope is the anchor of our souls. . . . Hope is trust in God’s promises, faith that if we act now, the desired blessings will be fulfilled in the future. . . . The unfailing source of our hope is that we are sons and daughters of God and that His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, saved us from death” (“Hope, an Anchor of the Soul,”