Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fwd: Letter #52 - 3/31/14

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 8:18 AM
Subject: Letter #52 - 3/31/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Dear family,

Wow... I could tell you SO many stories from this past week, seriously. President just sent us a letter about "unwearyingness" (Helaman 10:4-5) and I replied, "Speaking of unwearingness, I'm pleased to report that I just finished one of the most dedicated, unwearying weeks of my mission. We did exactly what we talked about in mission conference: set goals, dedicated ourselves to them, petitioned the Lord in every prayer, showed our faith and dedication in everything we did, and worked unwearingly until we nearly dropped dead as we walked through the apartment door on Sunday night. Some goals we didn't reach, others we exceeded, but we had the piece of conscience of knowing that we gave it our all. We planned great and yet the Lord always seemed to change things and it would end up even better than we hoped."

In short, I am LOVING Vinograder! Sister Parish and I work hard and laugh even harder, the ward here is super united and the members are amazing, and though we get rejected a ton on the streets (actually, not even that bad), those who don't reject us are SO great! In the last week, we've had 3 first contacts (taught and prayed with someone), handed out 7 Books of Mormon, and gotten 10 numbers from interested (well, we'll soon find out how interested) people. Plus 11 member visits and a new investigator, Alexander. He's the second man I wrote about last week who we gave a Book of Mormon to, and though we thought he wasn't actually all that interested, we called to invite him to church and he said, "I read a little of the Book of Mormon and I want to know more." Unfortunately our meeting didn't go through, but there's definitely potential there. It's ironic because we also had a first contact with a young woman named Anya that seemed totally elect (she was super interested in the Book of Mormon and coming to church, and we taught her a brief version of the first lesson and prayed with her right there on the street) and yet when we called her to invite her to church, she didn't sound all that interested and didn't end up coming. And yet Alexander, who I described in my journal as "an interesting man with interesting ideas..." totally wanted to know more. Don't judge a book by its first few pages (or something like that...)

Also, we had one of the best Relief Society activities that I've ever been to. The RS President came up with this skit idea where seven women represented seven great women from church history and told their stories as if they were the actual characters. It was Eve, Esther, Mary Magdalene, Eliza R. Snow, Louise Y. Robison, Marjorie Hinckley, and then one woman from the ward, Adda, who represented herself. After all their stories they said the same line, something like, "My God was always with me, all the days of my life. He was my strength and my comfort, my stronghold and my fortress." Add onto that testimonies from the women in the ward about how they've been supported by the Relief Society (and especially visiting teachers) over the years, and at the end there wasn't a dry eye in the room. One thing I love about this ward is that they do their home and visiting teaching, and the results of that are visible and incredible. Please, all you people at home, take that calling seriously! It's divine and inspired, and it can change your life and the lives of those you serve.

I don't know what else to write other than life is SO good. Oh yeah, and I hit my year mark! Only six more months of this incredible calling, but then I'll still have a lifetime to continue to share the gospel and spiritually grow. I remember one day on my mission when there seemed to be a lot of trials around me -- I was having companionship problems (yes, they happen, as in marriage [so I've heard]), problems with investigators, and spiritual "stretching" that comes from continual spiritual progression. And yet the Spirit was with me, and in that moment I surprised myself with the thought, "What on earth am I going to do when I get home and I won't have all this opposition? How am I going to keep myself growing? Are there going to be enough trials and questions to keep me progressing?" I know that home will have its own challenges, but I consider it a blessing to be on this spiritual battlefield where emotional, mental, and spiritual progress seems to be sped up by the intense conditions of full-time missionary service. Be grateful for your trials -- they help you become who you came here to become in the first place, i.e. just like your loving, perfect Father in Heaven. :)

That's all for today! Have an incredible week, and I hope to have another one!

Sister Montgomery