Good morning! I don’t think I’ll have a “spiritual rant” today. I want to try branching out on these posts I write every week. It has been a LONG week, but a good one. As far as success in finding people to teach or even respond to us, it’s been little to no success, but that’s alright. We’ve been able to set up some appointments for some friends we haven’t been able to meet with for a long time and we’re excited!
On Thursday, I had an opportunity to read “The Riccardi Letter” all the way through and loved it! It had been recommended to me twice at that point, one of those recommendations coming from a friend serving in California. It could not have been more important for me to read that when I did.
I’ve struggled a lot on my mission so far whether that’s in figuring out what success is, finding balance, and coming more fully yo the Lord. But as I read and pondered in the expenses told by Elder Humphrey (who wrote the Riccardi Letter), it has begun to change my perspective, and my attitude towards my mission. I remember coming out and my first two weeks, I was so pumped (aside from horrible homesickness occasionally). I knew what my purpose for being out here was and I knew I had work to do to learn the lessons and become a better teacher. I came to love and serve the people of Michigan. I soon lost that focus though, and I’ve been working to gain that back.
The 6th chapter in Preach My Gospel, How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes, has been a blessing to me. I’m nowhere near where I want to be as a person or as a missionary. I kept thinking of everything that I should’ve done to prepare for my mission and how it would’ve made me a better missionary. I kept looking at serving a mission as something I had two transfers to be trained in and then I needed to be good at it. Kind of like orientation & training at a new job. However, this week I’ve begun to look at it differently (though I still have a ways to go). I had an interesting thought as I pondered one day this week what I’ve been learning with my companion in regards to building and maintaining relationships, and teaching. I know I don’t know everything. It kept me from completing my papers for 6 months. But I thought I needed to be a great teacher to be a good missionary… at least, by the end of my training. Now I see that it is a process. God knows where I am. He knows I am in Big Rapids for the third transfer. He knows my companion has been here for 7 months. He knows where I am in my spiritual journey and what I feel. He knows exactly who will cross my path and despite my many faults and the knowledge that I’m “not qualified for this job,” He trusts me and knows I will learn from my mistakes and I’ll grow. He knows what pace. But He trusts me. I’m not less than the people I’m teaching, though I have had that mindset many times. I’m not a great teacher. I’m not even close to what you would call a scriptorian. So I need to trust Him.
I’m not writing about this because I want to say,”look what I learned!” Writing these emails kind of turns into a self reflection of everything that’s gone on in my week and I’m still learning new things every day. I want to have record of what I’ve thought and felt and learned on my mission and this is kind of what that has turned into.
Right now as a mission (as I mentioned last…week?), we are reading the Book of Mormon and highlighting anything that relates to charity. I invited you guys to join us in that effort and would like to invite you all again if you have not already started it. My family. My friends. Anyone else reading this. I know doing this will bless your life. Just wanted to re-extend that invitation.
Back to Christlike attributes though. This has been essential. This week, during district council, we discussed Christlike attributes and how it directly correlates with our missionary efforts. We ended up talking a lot about a cycle we go through as we come closer to Jesus Christ. The more we grow closer to Jesus Christ, the more we become like him and develop Christlike attributes. The more we develop Christlike attributes, the more we stand out as followers of Christ. The more we can reach out to people with Charity. The more we feel of his love for them. The closer we grow to Christ. Everything centers around Jesus Christ. This is his restored church on the Earth. This is his work and his Father’s work. As we come and see, we will become. It has been easier to share the simple truths of the gospel as I study one Christlike attribute at a time. I feel more involved in the work and I want that to continue throughout my life. When I go home. When I start the next chapter of my life. My mission is not a job that I needed to learn how to accomplish in two transfers. It is training me for how to help gather Israel throughout my entire life. Now that I think about it, this has been a constant in my life. Attending seminary taught me how to study the scriptures on my own- truly studying. Young Women’s callings taught me how to minister to Heavenly Father’s children. It taught me how to look to others for council and focus on the Lord’s work. Teaching Relief Society in our YSA ward taught me how to learn from others and help them learn from each other. An essential part of being a missionary, and in any part of my life. Being a sister has taught me how to learn from my mistakes and has taught me that there is nothing more important than my family. When I get ready every morning, I put on a name tag with two names. Jesus Christ & his church, and my family.
My mission is not a job. It is preparing my and teaching me essential skills that I will need to be happy for the rest of my life. That happiness comes from striving to live the gospel and come to Christ. I’m so grateful for this opportunity I have. For the people I meet and what I learn from them. I’m not perfect and I make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes it takes me a while to learn from them. But I know Heavenly Father knows where I am and I will strive to follow Him and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Thank you all for reading through my post this week. I love you all so much and I’m so grateful for being reached out to. It means so much to me. Thank you.
One more thing before I close up. I’ve been working on some missionary sticker designs. I’m leaving a picture of them below. They aren’t the final copy, so any input or critique is welcome before I work on the final copy. If any of you have any ideas for gospel related stickers, send an email my way.
Have a fantastic week everyone!
Sister (Katie) Malan