Good morning everyone! Happy belated Halloween! I hope everyone has fun asking strangers for candy in some way shape or form over the last week. πŸ˜‰ I dressed up as a missionary pumpkin (everyone tells me to get home before I turn into a pumpkin so it made enough sense to me haha). We participated in our ward’s Trunk or Treat and did a combined trunk with one of our members. We Snoopy-fied it and it was so fun! I saw amazing costumes- Calcifer (Howl’s Moving Castle), Miraculous Ladybug, and a giant Panda, to name a few. If you dressed up for Halloween (or any other Halloween-related activity), what did you dress as? Other than our Halloween activities, we’ve mostly just been meeting with members and friends! We were able to meet or at least get in contact with a couple friends we haven’t heard from for a while, and it was so good to see them again! We even met one of them in this super cool library that was built in the 1800’s and it looks like a miniature Hogwarts castle! It was so cool to have a lesson there, and then look around a little before we left. I’ll attach a picture. πŸ˜‰

The same day we went to the library, we had a lesson with a friend we haven’t been able to meet with for nearly two months! (Feels like an eternity as a missionary haha) It was so good to see them again and meet for a lesson. At first when we were getting everything together, we didn’t have anyone to pick our friend up. We usually meet at the park, and it’s getting pretty chilly, so we wanted to meet inside. We had asked a member to join us for the lesson and ended up asking if they could pick up our friend. They had just had a dinner appointment cancel, and they were free! As we talked about it later, we discussed how God really had His hand in that. We wouldn’t have been able to have a lesson with our friend without this member! And they were so excited to be helping out with missionary work! It was so good to have them as they asked inspired questions to our friend and shared insightful experiences. Overall, one of my favorite days this week.

I don’t think my post is going to be super long this week. We had an amazing week, but I don’t know what to talk about haha. Yesterday, we did have a mission fireside and all of the missionaries leaving the mission, either to go to an original assignment or home, gave their departing testimonies. In that group was Sister Harris, my wonderful trainer. She gave a beautiful testimony of what she learned during her mission and I couldn’t help but think of all of the lessons I learned from her. I treasure my time I had with her, and I’m going to miss seeing her from time to time in Michigan. But I know she’s going to be a fantastic missionary back home, and I like spamming her from time to time, so we’ll have fun with it haha. πŸ˜„

I’ll briefly mention (lol not really though) something one of the Elders said as he gave his departing testimony. There is something that is said by many missionaries as they depart. They talk about how something finally clicked near the end of their mission and they learn the “secret” to missionary work. I’ve spent probably too much time pondering on what this secret is and if I can “get it early.” But I really love what this Elder said. He said, “I want to tell you the secret of what we do: There is no secret. It is all God.”

That stuck out to me immediately for two reasons: #1: This is the lesson learned at the end of the first Kung Fu Panda: that there is no secret ingredient. I always loved that it wasn’t some special mystical power that gave Po what he had. It was who he chose to be and becoming that.

Likewise, there is no “secret” to missionary work. It really is all God. It is the Lord’s work, and he leads it. If any of us are humble and diligent enough to develop Christlike attributes and align our will with the Lord’s (namely living the two great commandments to love God and our neighbor), I believe we will be given opportunities to participate in the greatest work we can ever be a part of: The gathering of Israel on both sides of the veil. Both here on the Earth, and for those who have passed on through temple work.

Anyone can be a missionary if they align their will with God’s. That’s what I’m striving for. I want to be able to give everything I have to the Lord, without any reservations. That may take some time, but that’s okay I think.

I’ve focused so much recently (as I’ve written on a couple occasions) on becoming better now. Seeing a bigger change in me now. But in reality, it really will come bit by bit, here a little, there a little. It’s not going to come all at once. But I can still do everything to improve and shun the devil’s temptations that he wants me to believe that I am not good enough, that I will never improve, and I am stuck. That’s not what the Lord has on store for me if I choose to follow him. He has peace, comfort, joy, change. I had been thought after flipping through some of my old journals the other day, that some of the happiest times in my life have been when I am undergoing change.

Personal progress for example. I spent a year completing personal progress and learning how to follow the Savior. One of the biggest things I think I learned was how to progress. I learned how to set goals for myself that would bring spiritual and temporal progression. I was so excited to receive my Young Women’s Recognition Medallion because of the things it was going to remind me of. Sometimes I forget though. I forget some of the things I’ve learned. So I’m grateful that the Personal Progress program invited me to journal all the time because now I can look back on what I’ve learned.

No one needs a program, special necklace, mystical power, or secret ingredient to come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I believe it simply takes a desire to improve. A desire to become more than you are. A desire to love everyone the way the Savior loves. You won’t make that change immediately. But I can testify what bringing a change in your character does for you and to your world. Your life becomes full of joy! You recieve strength to overcome obstacles you never thought you could! The year I went through personal progress was on of the hardest years of my life at that point. I won’t go into details for the sake of time, but it was hard. Looking back on it, it should’ve been harder. But I was changing. I hope to continue to change, even if it’s not as quickly as I’d like to change.

I don’t want to worry so much about a secret ingredient for how to become like the Savior, and be an effective missionary. I want to act so I can become more like the Savior and be an effective missionary bit by bit, little by little, day by day. Add long as I am progressing. 1% at a time.

Love you all! Have an amazing week, and have fun gorging on your candy (or your kids’ candy — I don’t know about you all, but my siblings and I grew up being taught about “Mom Tax” and “Dad tax” during Halloween)

God loves us as we are, but He also loves us too much to leave us this way. Growing up unto the Lord is what mortality is all about. Change is what Christ’s Atonement is all about. Not only can Christ resurrect, cleanse, console, and heal us, but through it all, He can transform us to become more like Him.

Bradley R. Wilcox, “Worthiness is not Flawlessness”, General Conference (October 2021)

Sister (Katie) Malan

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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