Monday, June 9, 2014

Elder Ballard Visits

(this should have been posted on 6/2, so read this first and then the next one to have them in order)
This week was way better. So last Monday Sister Okanoue and I ate at a Korean barbeque restaurant. It was so good. They have a little grill on each table and then you just order
whatever meat you want and they give you side dishes too. We ate a ton because it was all you can eat. Then on Tuesday we went by an old Japanese couple in our ward. The
wife is recovering from a stroke and I think she really liked to speak Japanese with Sister Okanoue. The husband is really funny. He remembered that I'm from Texas so he pulled
out a New York Times magazine that said "the untied states of texas" on the front. He was like "Texas is #1!" it was funny. Then tuesday night we had exchanges. It is the first
time in 6 months that Sister Andelin hasn't been my STL so it was kinda weird at first. I went with Sister Bauer and she is awesome so we had a good time. That morning we
did some contacting then we worked in her area for a while. We got to teach one of their investigators who is Ally and AJ's uncle. Like I totally loved Ally and AJ back in the day
so I thought it was pretty cool that we got to teach him. He told us that he was going to have Sister Bauer and her companion be extras in a movie that Ally and AJ are making.
He was like "Ya they were just going to be walking around the neighborhood and then knock on someone's door." But sadly, the place where they are filming is out of our mission
so they can't do it. Then on Thursday I started to feel sick and realized that the sinus infection I had had was coming back. (I don't think it ever fully went away) So I went to the doctor
and they gave me some meds and I pretty much slept for all of Friday but then I felt a lot better. Which was good because on Saturday Elder Ballard (one of the 12 apostles) came to our mission!! It was
crazy all 200+ missionaries were packed into one chapel. I think that is the only time on my mission that the whole mission will have been together at once. It was really fun to see
everyone. There were a couple of area authorities that spoke and then Elder Ballard spoke. He talked about a lot of things, about teaching to people's needs, teaching simply, being
obedient. One of my favorite things about his talk was that he pulled out a pass along card with Jesus on it. He said how he is 85 but he still works a lot being an apostle and
sometimes it gets hard for him. When he is having a hard day he pulls out that card and takes a moment to think about the atonement and everything that the savior has done. It
helps him to push through it all and try his best. Then he had a short question and answer part. He also talked a little about member missionary work and he was like "Well, I've
already given 2 general conference talks on it so I don't know what else it will take to get the message across to the members." It was a really cool meeting. We all got to shake
his hand too which was awesome. Then on Sunday night we started teaching some active members the lessons just to help us practice. It was really cool and I think that the members
enjoyed it. Also one of our less actives came to church and she brought her less active nephew too. It was great. There are been a lot of less actives at church lately because us and the
elders have been trying to work more with the ward. We also visited this semi-active family who has three girls. The dad brings the girls sometimes but the mom never comes. They were
really talkative and fun to visit and we even got the mom to join in the lesson and stuff so hopefully we can get her going back to church. Lately I have felt like I need to focus more and work
harder than I ever have to find people to teach. Not that I have been wasting my time before or anything but just that I need to commit myself a little more. Our district leader gave a
training last week about praying with faith and committing to God the things that you want to accomplish. He had us read a talk about giving up the things we do as missionaries that
take away from the spirit even if it is just little things that get in the way. Also in that talk it mentioned how God has given us everything we have, our family, our health, our circumstances,
but the only thing that He can't take away or control is our free will. So the biggest gift we can give to Him is sacrificing what we want to more fully do what He wants from us. I really
liked this because I have noticed how throughout my mission overtime I have wanted to be more obedient and more hard working because I want to do what the Lord asks. It went
justifying things because "I needed it" or "I had to do it this way" to thinking more of "what has he asked me to do" or "how does the Lord want me to do this." Something I love most
about missions is that they can really change you if you let it. You can let the Lord change your heart, your very nature, even the things that you say "that's just how I am" God can
help you to become different. I have seen this in the people we teach, the less active who is laying in bed on a Sunday morning not wanting to get up but who prays and asks God to
help them do what is right and they get up and get themselves to church. Even active members who give service and do so much for others even though they have a family, and a job,
and a calling and not a ton of time. Or those times on my mission where I see a person that I know I need to talk to but their across the street and it might be awkward and I don't really
know what to say but I decide to anyway and the Lord helps me to talk to them. I still have a long way to go but I love that if we are willing and we really try the Lord will be there with us.
I am so grateful that the Lord gives us things in life that are hard so that we can learn to rely on Him. I love my mission so much! I am so grateful to be able to dedicate this time to Him.

Love you all!!
-Sister Washburn

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