Monday, June 17, 2013

Fwd: Letter #11 - 6/17/13

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 8:37 AM
Subject: Letter #11 - 6/17/13
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Dear family and friends,

Hope y'all are doing well on the homefront (shout-out to Uncle Mikie by using that word...) :)

Here in Ukraine, it's getting hotter by the day, hence the picture of the sweet foot-tanline I'm getting (which will only get darker as summer comes upon us...) But all is well. This week was pretty good -- here are a few of my thoughts...

Thought #1 -- I've found a lot of strength in hearing the conversion stories of the members here. There's a lot who came into the church in the 90's, but there are a lot of more recent converts as well. The reason I like it so much is because it makes me more motivated to be diligent in order to find people like them. For example, a few recent converts met the missionaries through the English classes we offer, and since hearing that, I've been more vigilant about inviting people to that. Also, a member named Lena was found by the missionaries through tracting, and so the last time we went, I just kept thinking, "Somewhere there's a Lena here..." Finding is such an important part of missionary work, but it's so hard sometimes! It helps me so much to see the light of the members here and to hear their stories, knowing that there's people like that to be found right now too!

Thought #2 -- Everyone needs constant nourishment in the gospel. I've noticed this as I've worked with different groups of people: active members, less-active members, recent converts, and investigators. Their needs differ as groups and individuals, but one thing is universally the same for them and me and everyone: we all need to stay nourished in the gospel! I wish it was as easy as being baptized and then calling it good, but it's nowhere close to that. None of us are "safe" in the sense that we can slack in our gospel practices and think that all is still well. And even if we're feeling strong in the gospel, there's still so many other people who need help with it who we should be helping! I look back to how I was before my mission, and I regret not serving and strengthening others as much as I could have. We all need each other in this endeavor of becoming like our Father in Heaven.

If you have some time this week, read Alma 32 and think about the importance of constantly nourishing your testimony (and helping others do the same). It's neat to be here and to witness all different stages of that chapter, from the seed being planted in investigators' hearts to a blooming tree in some members' homes. Moroni 6 is another good chapters about how much we must DO and BECOME in order to stay founded in the gospel and Jesus Christ: "And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith" (Moroni 6:4).

Thought #3 -- The gospel seems hard, and is hard, but ultimately life is better and even easier with the gospel. We had a lesson with an investigator this week who has a very hard life (she's the mother of three disabled daughters). We want her to embrace the gospel, but all she sees right now is the difficulty of it, and it's hard to disagree with her. And yet I know that there's so much joy and peace and light that comes from living the gospel of Jesus Christ, even when it seems completely counter-intuitive. It reminds me of the scripture, Matthew 11:28-30: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." How can taking a yoke upon you possibly be easy? That's the beautiful irony of it: when we partner with Christ, no matter how hard that might be at first, our burdens will ultimately be lightened, and we shall find rest unto our souls. I hope I can adequately explain that to the people I teach (or rather, that the Spirit can do that), but I also know that the best way, and perhaps the only way, to discover that is by trying it.

Well, that's enough thoughts for today. :) Have a fantastic week!

Sister Montgomery

PS-- Make sure you have a lot of fun on my B-Day in my behalf! Thanks for birthing me, Mom! :D

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