Monday, March 10, 2014

Life long friends

Virginia, my 97 year old friend.
Dear Family,
   Well...transfer calls came today...And Sis Jones is being transferred away from me, and I have to take over the entire area by myself...I'M FREAKING OUT!!!! I've only been here six weeks! I don't even know the whole area yet! Plus I haven't been driving so I don't know how to drive to get places at all...needless to say Sis Jones will be drawing me a bazillion maps today and I will be taking lots of notes from her...She's been here 7 1/2 months(her whole mission) and everyone knows her really well! Nobody knows me at all! Gosh...some of the people I haven't even met we are starting a whole new program with our ward mission leaders called "One Night a Week" or OWN, where each mission leader sets up a night of lessons with us and we go on splits, so one of us goes out with the ward, and the other goes out to our usual lessons...and I have to do that that by myself with a new missionary who doesn't know the area! Sis Jones is like my other half! Nobody else will accept that I sing obnoxiously loud wherever we go! Goodness...I'm not gonna lie... I'm a little terrified right now...I'm always a little terrified when it means I'm getting a new companion...    Gosh, I'm stressing....dang...Deep breaths deep breaths...
   Well....yep. Pray for me. A lot.
   This last Friday during planning we went on an area tour and Sis Jones drove around pointing things out for me while I wrote on the planning sheet...So I feel a little bit better, but I'm still nervous because I'm terrible with directions, so if I'm asked to find somewhere where I've never been before, I'll probably get lost...At least I'm not training...that would be even more stressful. Having to do all this plus train a new missionary would be crazy...
      This week has been crazy. On Tuesday I had a pretty cool experience...but I need to back up and explain some things first. 
    So one of the things I used to really struggle with on the mission was going directly by the spirit. I had a lot of fear and it was hard for me not to rely on myself and give it all over to the spirit. (Then President McCune told us that if we feared we needed to repent...and I was like "Oh...well then...I need to repent")

   That and also I've been struggling with myself. When I was in Orem I had a bunch of experiences where Satan tried to shake my testimony. I ran into Atheists and Anti-Mormons who wanted so badly to tear my testimony away from me, and they aimed all of their most convincing ammo at me, and I still wasn't shaken. I know what I know. My knowledge of my identity as a daughter of God was strengthened instead. I remember riding on my bike after one of those encounters thinking "Ha! Satan! You thought that would shake me?? You were wrong! I know who I am, and I know what I believe!" And so Satan probably got really ticked off...and was like "Oh yeah? We shall see then..." and he decided to play dirty. He decided to go back in my file and pull out something that has bugged me underneath for a long time. Any insecurities I have about myself....Things that are so ridiculously stupid and shallow and vain. 

    That's one of the reasons I wrote about being defined by Christ in one of my last emails. I want Him to define me and Him alone. I want to be beautiful to Him. 
    So- now that I have the preamble out, I can tell you the experience:
    We were on splits Tuesday night, and I was with a ward missionary named Sister Murrey. We went to a lady's house named Ranae. She was a less active, but has recently returned to church and is doing awesome! But she is really struggling. She lost her son almost a year ago and it has completely shattered her. She can't get over it, and it's affecting her happiness a lot. We keep telling her she'll see him again, but she keeps saying "No I won't, he wasn't living the gospel, he wasn't making the right choices..." We've helped out a lot but she still is very sad about it. We met with her Tuesday night and had a lesson on the atonement and how it can change people in this life and the life to come. That's when the most amazing thing happened. I had a prompting. And not just any prompting; the kind where you feel like your chest is swelling with the spirit and you can't breathe and there are words building in your throat and you just know you need to say them. And I got really nervous. I didn't want to say them, they were kind of bold and I was scared...but I knew I had to. The spirit was prompting me very powerfully and they had to come out. So I started to stutter: "Um...I...uh...I don't know why I'm so nervous to say" Then the spirit completely took over and it just came rushing out and I started crying and couldn't stop it:
"As a Representative of Jesus Christ, I feel very prompted to tell you that your son is okay. He is happy. He wants you to be happy. Your Savior loves you." 
All three of us were crying, and I had to get control of myself. Then Ranae grabbed my hand and said something I'm sure she was prompted to say too: "You are truly a very beautiful girl." And then I lost it again. 
    Heavenly Father's hand is so prominent in my life. I know for a fact He watches over us every single day, through every event, through every joy, through every pain, through every trial, and through every struggle. 
     It's only when the spirit is shining through you, and you know who you are as a child of God, that you can have that inner beauty. Jeffery R. Holland said it comes from knowing your identity, knowing your role, and knowing whose you are. I am His. When someone possesses the spirit, they have a beauty that shines, that comes out through the eyes, and through their laugh, and through the way they treat others and speak and show love. That is the kind of beauty I am striving to possess.
    I know so many people who don't measure up to the world's standard of beauty, and yet I think they are some of the most gorgeous people who have ever walked this earth.

   We are Children of a Heavenly Father who loves us. And I love Him. 

Bye Sis. Jones you were an awesome companion
This week has been one of growing, one of patience, and one of change.
This next week will bring a lot of change and growth for me also. 

     I will miss my companion Sis Jones... Just a little about her as a farewell! She is a smarty-pants Biology Education major. She did a ton of plays and musicals. She loved cats...which was hilarious when she would meow at cats when we walked by. She would sing with me in the car. She would eat cookies in front of me while telling me I couldn't have any.  She made me laugh every day. So I decided why not embarrass her a little bit and post a few of the quotes she said to me that made me almost pee my pants I was laughing so hard: 
Sis J: "Your eyelashes...look like...bats..."
Me: "What?!"

Sis J: "That's why I don't give compliments!!!"

Me: "Why do we even care about attractiveness? It's just going to fade!"
Sis J: "Because it's scary to wake up in the morning and see an ugly person..."

(My All time favorite)
Sis J: "If your face could be an animal what would it be?"
Me: "What?? I don't know..."
Sis J: "I know what you would be..."
Me: "What?"
Sis J: "nevermind...I don't want you to be offended..."

Me: "now you HAVE to tell me!"
Sis J: " elephant seal..."
Me: "WHAT?!?!"

Sis J: "I told you I was bad with faces!!! They are nice creatures, okay!?...they actually are!...they mate for life!"

 Haha oh Sister Ashley Jones, how I shall miss her :)
   Wish me luck! I love you all so much! I miss you bunches and pray for you! Hope this week is good for you all! I've loved the letters so far! They are great!
Love forever,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

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