So this week, wild. These two transfers have just been crazy. Crazy hard hard hard. Finally Soeur Dawson and I identified as we have from the last transfer or so that we felt like we had lost our personalities in a big way and we were taking ourselves so seriously. The last zone conference was all about how to start teaching 21 lessons a week (the mission average right now is about 7). The big push was to talk to EVERYONE. If you arent talking to someone, there is a problem. And it was good, there have been miracles in the mission thanks to this zone conference and it was definitely inspired. For Soeur Dawson and I though we started taking ourselves so seriously and were becoming missionaries where it just seems like you are trying to stay afloat. We got tons of phone numbers (we had 42 numbers we were trying to contact at one point) but not a lot happening as far as work went. The more focused we became on the physical, "talk to everyone" the less it became about the actual people and the more it came about just doing things to do it. The more keeping rules was just out of guilt and obligation. Everything was just getting worse and worse, studies we were only studying strictly for our amis and we have taught so many first lessons these last two transfers, so studies started becoming just really routine. In brief, we were both really struggling to make things work.
So, what happened is that a few days ago for language study Soeur Dawson turned on a movie about the Atonement in french to watch. I was studying something else but ended up going over and sitting next to her and watching with her. I just started crying so hard watching the Atonement and everything Christ went through and how even He was rejected by so many people. And how He atoned for the very people who rejected Him too. And I looked at how He reacted in the face of opposition and how calm and at peace He was. And I realized again how through the Atonement, all of us can be healed and I realized what that meant a little bit more for each of us. And my thought was, "I dont know how I could ever repay Christ for what He did for me." Then it was our lunch break, and I laid down on my bed for a few minutes. I was drifting into sleep and suddenly I heard someone in the apartment upstairs playing the piano and it was a song I have played before. Suddenly the thought just came into my mind, "you need to go play the piano and Soeur Dawson needs to sing and you need to bear your testimony of Jesus Christ through music." So, I woke up and told Soeur Dawson. (Soeur Dawson is an amazing singer). She said, "okay, let's go immediately." So we started walking. One woman we contacted a few weeks ago named Pamela came to my mind, because I remember she had a piano in her house. She had told us she was too busy to have another lesson after the first but had said if I ever wanted to play the piano we could come over. We went over and she happened to be home. We ended up singing/playing "Come thou Fount" and then "I know that my Redeemer Lives." The spirit was strong and the lady put everything away and just sat down and listened. She said she's been going through a difficult time and she felt so much peace when she heard the music. She asked for the address again of our church and said she's going to try to come in a few weeks when she's able to again.
Later that night we were at home finishing our weekly planning. We were both just feeling so mellow and like I said like we have been taking ourselves so seriously, the joy has been lost from the work and it has made it so difficult. It was pouring rain outside and we looked outside and Soeur Dawson said, "that would be so fun to be out in the rain." I said, "Let's go." So we went running outside in the pouring rain for five minutes and we just got completely soaked and we really laughed for the first time in a long time and it was so good. We came back that night and we went over to Soeur Any, a member in the ward who's entire family is in the Cote d'Ivoire in the war and she is here alone in France. We went and sang for her and then ported some of her building. And we just took time to really talk to each other and we laughed and it was so good.
So what I have been learning is first of all, how to measure true success. Sometimes we can all get caught up on something that seems to be the "true measure of success." Maybe that's reaching 21 lessons. Which starts off as a good goal, but as you become so focused on the destination, you lost the joy in the journey. It was to the point we would have really good things and lots of miracles happening, and we were losing sight of them because we never felt like we were measuring up. And I'm learning to make what the Lord want what you want. Something interesting in stake conference taht was said about a month ago that stuck with me was something that Brother Jones said. He had just been called as a new bishop and he went and asked other Bishops for their advice. Their advice was to listen to the Holy Ghost. They said there will always be so many opinions and so much advice thrown at you from so many people and they are all important things to listen to, but in the end, the most important counsel and advice you will be able to receive is from direction from the Holy Ghost. Those promptings will never lead you astray. I am learning how important and how true that is.
Have a fabulous week!