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“Soft Phase Three”

Good morning! Its been a week! I’m not super sure of what to write about but the reason I keep this blog is to have a record of me of what I did on my mission and to keep you guys in the loop! As always, I very much appreciate everyone who reached out to me this week whether it was on Monday or sometime throughout the week! I always love hearing from you guys and it makes me feel like I’m with you all more. 😊

I’ve been pondering a lot about balance in the mission. It’s not easy finding a balance especially on a mission. You are directed to work hard, to lose yourself in the work, and to consecrate every day of your mission to the Lord. We are also directed to not push ourselves too much to the point that we burn out and can’t do anything. There’s a fine balance in between of working hard to dedicate every day to the Lord, be an effective missionary, and address your emotional needs.

Something I loved that my STL told us during a devotional this week, is that our 100% is going to look different from every other missionary, and it’s going to look different from day to day. I’ve been trying to stay at a level where I think I need to be as a missionary. Where I love the work, I’m excited to go out every day, and I’m doing something productive and working efficiently from 9am-9pm every day. In reality, I can’t take that. Sometimes I feel drained socially and I really don’t feel like meeting with our friends. Sometimes my companion is ready to go out and is full of energy, and I’m exhausted and for some reason I’m so emotionally drained that I can’t put even a fake smile on my face.

Every time we have exchanges with our STLs (Sister Training Leaders), I talk to them about how I feel like I’m not doing enough. I feel like I’m slacking and I’m not doing everything I can. I got some good advice while setting goals for myself with my STL this week. She told me that my goals that I was setting came directly from Heavenly Father and that the effort I was giving was more than enough for the Lord. It made me think of what I am doing and to move my focus to that rather than everything I think I should be doing. I want to set goals and work on them of course, but I was reminded so many times this week of just how much I am supposed OK be here and how the Lord knows exactly where I am at and He has still entrusted me to be in the area I am in and to teach and befriend the people I come in contact with.

In our mission devotional yesterday, we had a guest speaker who talked about his mission and what he learned from it. He talked about themes he saw throughout his mission as far as what he learned overall. He invited us to look at our missions and find themes we see. As I pondered that myself, I have seen a lot of learning balance. It’s something I’ll have to work on my entire life, but it’s essential. It feels like everything you’ve dealt with emotionally/ mentally and physically is increased on your mission. I don’t struggle with anxiety or depression on a daily basis, however, I do have my moments where nothing I’m feeling is making any logical sense. I’ve taken time to do my best to understand what I can about feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress, and since being on my mission, I have those moments more frequently. I’m very blessed to have a companion who struggles with anxiety and is willing to talk with me about what she goes through and ways to help me when I have those moments.

In these moments as a missionary (or in life in general), it’s easy to be down on yourself for how much you’re not doing. But I’ve also had to come to the conclusion that I’m still putting in effort and setting goals for myself is the right thing to be doing. My 100% is going to look different every. Day. “The Lord loves effort” is a phrase I’ve heard throughout my mission so far. Sitting still probably isn’t going to be that helpful in general when your stressed, or anxious, or depressed. It’s an opening for Satan to feed us more feelings of doubt, self degrading, and hopelessness. He wants us to believe that the thoughts he puts in our minds are from ourselves and often uses his temptations and things he wants us to think in the first person. However, when the Spirit speaks to us, it is always going to lead to something good. The Spirit wants us to know that those prompting come from our Heavenly Father.

Something I’ve learned this last month is that we need to keep moving forward, and that the Lord loves any effort. Even if it’s the smallest baby steps.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Seek balance in everything — the Lord will help you find it
  • Your 100% is going to be different than everyone and every day
  • Find themes in your life for what God is teaching you — Listen
  • Keep moving forward — the Lord loves effort
  • Make an effort to recognize the Spirit and ignore Satan — it’s not easy, but God will help you should you have the desire

I love you all so much and I hope what I’ve learned and what I’ve shared can help even just one of you in some way. Just because I’ve written about this and I’ve learned it, doesn’t mean I’m perfect at it, or I’ll be able to remember to practice it in every situation. It’s a process as everything in life is. Good things take time. Nothing great ever came easy. But through Jesus Christ, our burdens will be made lighter. He wants to help us.

Last thing (my title) for this week. We got news this last Thursday that we were entering a “soft phase three” where previously we were in a “not phase three.” Our mission has opened up to knocking doors near homes of less active members we visit. We are not knocking doors for 4 hours a day or anything like that. I believe the way my mission president put it, is that we are building up zion where it already has roots.

Throughout my life, I have had a desire to serve a mission. However, knocking doors has always been something I did not want to do. Before covid hit, I figured I’d do it anyway because that’s always what a mission had been and that was how we found people. But now that we have social media and we’re striving to work more with the members and help them to do missionary work, the idea of door knocking seems less essential. Now, before I go any further, I trust my mission president fully. I will follow his lead because I know he is in tune with the spirit and with the will of the Lord. If this has opened up, it is because it needs to. I trust that. It doesn’t mean I’m super excited. My trainer has never even knocked doors and she’s nearly done with her mission. If I’m being completely honest, I may have cried when we got the news. But throughout the rest of our day and our week, we learned from our members and from study Togethursday so often that we need not fear and we can trust in the Lord. I’m striving to put more trust in the Lord and to not worry about how scary door knocking is. I’m praying for strength to know what I need to work on and what I need to do to prepare. I trust that the Lord has His timing for everything.

Again, I love you all so much and I appreciate all of the contact that I’ve received from some of you! Its makes my week every time I hear from you guys! Stay safe, don’t eat cake from strangers, stay away from people wearing funny hats, and love your life!

Sister (Katie) Malan

Pictures! My Petoskey stone I’m sanding!, my REALLY weird companion, Mmmm… Steak, Bread bowls!, living the country life!, Me and Sister Harris!

Published by Katie Malan

Sister Malan is currently a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in the Michigan Lansing Mission (United States).

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1 Comment

  1. I love your message this week! Thank you so much for sharing. Being a missionary is hard. The work is hard but so, too, is the mental work required. Pushing back against temptation, unkind inner thoughts and exhaustion (of every kind) can leave you feeling drained and, even at times, as though you will never quite get your head above water long enough to take a truly, refreshing deep breath.

    But your head is above water more than you know and the Lord will give you glorious moments of peace, clarity and fill your heart with love that is much, MUCH bigger than you — and will help you realize it’s not yours but His love being manifest through you.

    Also, great advice on the cake. Remember: the cake is a lie.

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