Good morning everyone! It’s been a crazy week! We picked up my new companion, Sister Peterson from Lansing on Wednesday! She’s so excited to be here and her energy is contagious! We got everything ready to go with her luggage and ate with the other missionaries. And it was Chick-fil-A of course because we are a Chick-fil-A mission! After dinner we met up with my wonderful trainer, Sister Harris (who is on her last transfer! 😭) and her companion, as well as Sister Porter (who flew out with me) and her new companion, Sister Marker to go out to my favorite icecream place in Michigan, Unica (which is only found in Lansing as far as I’m aware). Sister Harris bought me icecream and I shared with Sister Peterson so she could try some of the best icecream Michigan has to offer!
As we drove home to Spring Lake, we had an opportunity to watch a gorgeous sunset! Sister Peterson said it looked like waves. When we were talking about the sunset was when she found out that Spring Lake is along the beach and we can go see lighthouses, and she is so excited! I’ll be surprising her by taking her to the beach today. Hehe.
So my first week as a trainer is not exactly what I thought it might be. I’ve been trying to have no expectations of anything, but there are definitely things I thought we’d be doing…like eating go meals lol. We were already out of a lot of our ingredients for cooking and I was out of mission funds, so we’ve been taking advantage of a lot of foods we wouldn’t typically prepare, but we are good. We tried canned fish the other day. When I say canned fish, I mean someone chopped off the head and tail, skinned it, chopped it in half and stuck it in a can…with all of the bones. And we have no idea how to cook fish so we googled it and followed NONE of the instructions. 😆 But we haven’t died yet, so it was probably okay.
Due to traveling 400 miles to Zone Conference and then 200 to Lansing, we’ve been out of miles to drive anywhere, so we’ve seldom gone anywhere in the car the past week. We have meetings in Grand Rapids this week (thankfully on the same day) so that will be an additional ~60 miles for us, so we’ve really been trying to stay within something reasonable. We’re trying to do online meetings with friends, and do everything we can while we’re out, but since we don’t have bicycles, we don’t have time to travel without the car. So finding online has been a BIG focus for us this week. We’ve seen a lot of miracles come from it!
Just last night, we got an online referral. Since we were finding online, we just stopped what we were doing and called this person really quick. She didn’t pick up, so we left a voicemail and Sister Peterson found her on social media and messaged her. She responded not too long after that! She’s excited to meet with us and learn more about the church! It was a tender mercy, and it came from exact obedience, urgency, and diligence!
We are also so pumped for conference this week! We have a lot of friends who are preparing to watch it and I miss conference. I can’t wait to hear more from the prophet and apostles.
Well, I’m honestly pretty tired and can’t think straight so if my post this week seems kind of all over the place, that’s why haha.
Sister Peterson and I get along great! She’s very eager to learn everything about our friends, our area, and being a missionary. We haven’t had to go through any homesickness together yet, but it may be because she was off at college before this. Haha. I had not left home yet so I feel like I went through a lot more homesickness. Even being able to communicate with my family every evening during my time in online MTC and hanging out with them on the weekend and then going away again was difficult. But if and when Sister Peterson goes through experiencing homesickness in her own way, we will go through it together!
Sister Peterson is helping me be a little more diligent in areas I could work on, and I help her in the areas that we develop as new missionaries IN the field.
Not gonna lie, despite how amazing Sister Peterson is, and how great this week has been, I’ve felt down. Maybe I just need to get outside a little more often, but I have been struggling and I’m not entirely sure why. I’m praying for help in having strength and to be able to continue to focus on my friends. Hopefully, I can study for conference and I can get out of this funk I’m in right now.
I read in one of my previous journals the other day trying to find some inspiration for growing spiritually and personally, and I read an entry from when I first started doing personal progress. I listed a couple scriptures:
And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.Alma 7:23-24
Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.D&C 121:45
While reading through my journal, I realized how powerful that time was for me and how much joy I had in the face of adversity. I had a simple testimony of the Gospel and it got me through so much. I look back on it and ask myself where some of that went. Where my simple testimony went. I can’t be the same during my entire life. I have to move and grow. But sometimes I feel as if I have gone backwards and I don’t know how to get out of the hole I seem to have apparently dug myself. But I don’t know what has created the hole in these cases.
I don’t know if I’m making any sense. Sometimes it seems when things are going right, I am down, but I don’t know why. Maybe there’s something I need to learn that I’m missing right now.
I love those scriptures though and I know that God wins. He overcomes everything in the end, and I know that as I continue to turn to him, I we continue to grow. I love all of the attributes they both list of things I can be doing better. I’m certainly striving to develop wholesome attributes.
I love reading the promise found in one of my favorite scriptures:
“Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted.
Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them.
But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day.”Alma 26:5-7
I know none of my efforts are wasted. I am serving on the Lord’s time and he is going to use every bit of my efforts to further his work. I know I am just as loved as the people we are teaching, which is something I struggled with remembering at the beginning of my mission. But I also have a work that I want to do. I am here to strive to love and serve as Jesus would if he were here in Spring Lake. I am reminded of the song,”If The Savior Stood Beside Me,” and “Lead Kindly Light,” and “My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee.” These songs bring me a lot of comfort when I am feeling lost and in need of direction. I know the Lord will guide me as I continue walking. He doesn’t want to leave us comfortless. Without direction. Hopeless. He wants to guide us and comfort us. He gives us hope and peace. None of our efforts are wasted. As we strive to share the gospel and the joy we find in Jesus Christ and we look for guidance from the Spirit, we will be guided to people and experiences the Lord can use to further his work “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39)
I’m even feeling better as I type this. I just needed to journal guys. These weekly communications feel like making up for the time I don’t have to journal throughout the week. Plus, it’s a little faster than writing.
I hope you all are having an amazing week and you have no idea how much it means to me when you guys reach out to me. I know it’s not always easy to remember to reach out (Missionary time and everyone back home time are two very different things haha), so it means a lot when someone reaches out even for the first time since I’ve been out. It means a lot that someone thought of me and decided to reach out. So thank you guys. I hope you all are excited for General Conference! And for anyone who hasn’t listened to General Conference before, or doesn’t really know what it is, you can find more information on it at churchofjesuschrist.org/learn/general-conference. It’s amazing and brings the Spirit. I know that if you watch General Conference with questions in mind, and with a desire to be taught, you will find your answer(s).
Have an amazing week everyone! Stay away from strangers in hats, give strangers candy, and remember that the cake is a lie!
P.S. I hope you all know I titled my post today after I finished writing it. 😆
Sister (Katie) Malan