Another week has come and gone. Honestly speaking, it was a tough one! But that’s good because tough times make tough people, right? So it was a good one.
Ok let me rephrase. I’m so incredibly thankful for this week. It was a really hard one. Really just one of those get into survival mode weeks. I never thought I could be so thankful for tough times as I am now. So much happened this week that quite honestly was flat out rubbish. But it’s amazing how the opposition can prepare us for the good things to come. And on Sunday, those good things truly came.
But beyond that, earlier in the week we experienced an incredible miracle with our friend Mihail (aka Michael). He makes my heart so happy! We were about to have our first lesson with him and he came in super excited because he looked up a ton of stuff on Mormons. Turns out he knows everything from Moroni to the 116 lost manuscript pages and more. As we were teaching him, he continued to perk up when we said something he had just studied about online.
Mihail then explained to us how ready he is to change as we showed him the baptismal font. His life story is pretty crazy, and he’s looking forward to his baptism on February 11th. The entire lesson was powerful, including when he explained to us that his mother died when he was 11. We then went to the chapel to pray and were explaining to him that we finish our prayers by saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Mihail then proclaimed, “Oh I know that! Because if I want to deliver something to my mom (remember the mom who died when he was just 11 years old), I have to do it through Jesus Christ. So in the name of Jesus Christ.” Tears. Chills. So much power. Just amazing. Love this sweet man.
Besides that experience with Mihail, that’s all I have to really share about the work this week. Sister Wallace and I have been working a lot with the members of the White Chapel ward. It is an incredible ward and I love them so much. A major highlight was being decked out in African apparel. The people we serve with are wonderful with booming testimonies. I truly am so thankful to be in the lovely White Chapel ward!
Relating to the opening of this email, I believe the rest of my email can be wrapped up by Sister Mullen’s quote of the week: “If nothing else, we can smile and eat!”
Shout out to chocolate for understanding me when I couldn’t even understand myself. I wish I could write down what I really want to express. But I quite simply cannot put into words the magnitude and beauty of the experiences that occurred to me spiritually yesterday. But for a lack of words and a better spiritual thought (and in addition to Sister Mullen’s profound and very true counsel of smiling and eating), Elder Holland taught me five other things I can do in times of trouble.
1. Immerse yourself in the scriptures. You will find your own experiences described there.
Guys. This is true. It amazes me how many times I’m reading the scriptures and it’s just like, “OK wo this is me.” There is spirit and strength, solutions and counsel to be found in the scriptures. I know I sometimes read the scriptures like a textbook, annoy everyone with my doctrinal questions, and the institute manuals have become my best friend. But when you read the scriptures for your own spiritual growth, just wow. Do it.
To put it simply, this week I learned that the Book of Mormon isn’t just to learn about Christ or the prophets or how Nephi is an epic hero. The Book of Mormon is safety for the soul. It provides healing! I knew the Book of Mormon could do this, and it has helped me in many ways before. But this week I noticed how I had never truly grasped that the Book of Mormon could heal a broken heart or calm a troubled soul. And that it can do that for me personally. So needless to say in addition to my enlightening studies of the New Testament, I’m going to be diving deep into the Book of Mormon for the next while.
2. Pray earnestly and fast with purpose and devotion.
I wrote about this a bit a couple emails ago. But I have really been amazed at the power of prayer and fasting. Also, prayer is something I’ve been working on big time. I have a prayer journal in which as I pray each night, I can write down impressions I receive. When I feel weak, I love to reflect on past revelations given to me through prayer. I look forward to each night when I can pray to my Father. It’s really, really fun.
I’ve also come to notice this week that prayer and fasting helps us better understand the scriptures. It allows us to receive further revelation from the scripture. It all works together. Cool how it works that way, hey? God knows how to do things.
3. Serve others.
Sister Mullen’s name is written all over this one. I love how we truly become happier as we look outside ourselves and serve others. My favourite thing to do is make cookies. I even asked my mom to send me special vanilla from home so I can make some good ones. Get ready England. Y’all are about to have the famous Jen Fuhriman cookies. For real though, serve. It works.
4. Be patient.
Yeah so I’m terrible at this one and trusting isn’t my best ability. But sometimes the only way out is through. We have to keep moving. We have to keep trying. And oh how I was shown that this week. I tend to just want results now. I want to see progression, and if I feel like progression isn’t happening, I get quite frustrated. This week I felt a serious amount of digression in something I’ve been working tirelessly on. My patience was being tried, but I just tried to keep trusting. And so I did. And that leads into the final point.
5. Have faith.
When we read our scriptures, pray and fast, serve and are patient, we are exercising our faith. Faith is trusting. But first off a neat point is that “Faith in Jesus Christ” is the first Christlike attribute as described in Preach My Gospel. There are 10 Christlike attributes in Preach My Gospel and at the beginning of the year, I had 10 months left of my mission. I decided to focus my studies each month on one of the attributes and hope to develop them in an effort to draw closer to the Savior. Therefore, this month I’ve been working on faith.
Having faith isn’t easy. In fact, it can be very difficult. As mentioned before, I knew that full on this week. But I am grateful that the Savior reminds us to just have faith. That our faith will make us whole and heal us. That it starts as a little seed and can grow as we nourish it. You cannot just stop working on building your faith. I think I’ll leave this point at that, and in a future email at the end of the month I will include my studies regarding faith. But just have faith. Trust. Believe. Try. Build. Seek. Ask. If you feel your faith is weak, experiment with the other points. It’ll grow. I know it will.
This week was incredible. I feel I may be a bit too honest with my emails, instead of the regular weekly missionary log, but I hope someone can learn something from all I’ve learned throughout the week. Missions kick your booty. My pictures and stories may sounds like quite the vacation, or as English people call it “holiday,” but this is hard work! That’s why it’s called missionary work. But oh how grateful I am to be a part of this work! I cannot put into words the joy I feel even amongst continuing opposition. It’s all so good! And I mean if nothing else, we can smile and eat 🙂