When We Put Christ at the Center of Our Lives:

Mornin’! I don’t know what to talk about, so I’m just gonna copy and paste a portion of what I wrote to my Mission President this morning because it’s got a lot of my thoughts for this last week in it. Lol.

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p dir=”ltr”>I feel like I could do more to be laser focused on the Savior as I "invite others to come unto Christ by…living the two great commandments." I don’t know what it has been lately, but I has seemed harder to focus. Something Sister Peterson and I discussed yesterday was our teaching pool, which has been very slow recently. Many of our friends have either been in quarantine (due to coming in contact with others that were exposed to or had covid) or haven’t been responding to our texts, calls, or in-person visits. After having a discussion with Elders Bonsignore and Yeomans (about any advice they have, because they are building a lot of momentum here in Spring Lake), Sister Peterson and I decided to start acting with an increase of urgency to find those who the Lord truly has prepared to recieve the gospel and recieve a baptismal invitation. We have been praying since the beginning of the transfer to find one soul who has been prepared to follow Christ in the waters of baptism. I feel like I could increase my faith in those efforts. I’ve been told and have believed that there is one person in every area that the Lord has prepared to recieve the gospel. It’s been difficult to see that lately, but I suppose that’s why it needs to be an act of faith. It’s not being able to see it and act anyway. Believe anyway. Not just one or the other, but both.

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p dir=”ltr”>I loved the scriptures you shared in your email. It reminded me of one of the biggest things I took from General Conference that I had lost a focus on. I heard from nearly every apostle, an emphasis on putting Christ at the center of of focus, our lives, and surrendering our will to him. When I heard this and studied it, I knew it was for me. This is the next step I needed. But I also knew it was going to be hard. As I started working on it, I was too focused on my faults and not progressing fast enough. I went into a downward spiral of not loving myself and being very self critical. I remembered my notes from Bradley R. Wilcox’s talk and I listened to it again. I felt like that was an answer to my prayers. But I also learned I didn’t know what grace was. So I made a goal to read the Book of Mormon again, with a continued focus on Charity, and grace. I didn’t know what charity was until I studied it in the scriptures, so I felt like this was a good step to learn what grace was. Over the past month or so since I’ve been reading, we’ve had devotionals that I couldn’t help but tear up at because of how personal it felt for me to hear exactly that. Especially these last few devotionals President Gentile has led.

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p dir=”ltr”>As I’ve continued this journey of understanding grace, I have felt all over the place. Like I’m spending too much time here, and too little time there, or everything’s too confusing. I got to 2 Nephi 16-19 this last week and I have never been more confused I the Book of Mormon (the Isaiah chapters). After maybe 20 mins of confusing study, feeling exasperated, I turned to my dear companion for assistance. We went through one of the chapters as a companionship during additional study, and she helped me look at it with a less literal perspective because of Isaiah’s poetic writing.

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p dir=”ltr”>The reason I bring this up is because I still felt all over the place. Have felt all over the place. But I realized it’s because I was focusing everything on grace (which is through Jesus Christ) when I feel I should have been focusing more on Jesus Christ (who offers grace). I feel like studying grace is a great thing. It’s been helping me understand the nature of God the Gather and His Son, Jesus Christ on a deeper level. But focusing on Jesus Christ with an emphasis on grace is what I feel like I’ve been needing to do.

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p dir=”ltr”>So how do I focus on Jesus Christ? What does it mean to be focused on him? Is it studying his teachings? Is it continuing to make prayer and repentance a significant, meaningful part of every day? I feel like I’ve been closer than I ever have as a missionary, but I suppose I don’t know what that is for myself yet. As I search for what that looks like (and I’d love some feedback if you have any for me), I feel like a good place to start is the inspiration that I received yesterday during sacrament meeting to make a special effort to repent daily in my prayers, thoughts, and actions, for every thing, in addition to going back to developing Christlike attributes. The other thing I feel I should do, is go back and study Elder Holland’s talk from this last General Conference, as well as President Nelson’s. I’m praying for direction if these steps won’t help me be laser focused. If feel like as I focus on the Savior and loving God, the rest of the work (which I still find much joy in, and came to even find myself being slightly disappointed that today was P-Day haha) will come through that love and focus on Him.

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p dir=”ltr”>I think I can speak for Sister Peterson and myself when I say we LOVE being together here in Spring Lake. I don’t think we’ve run into any issues while being together and sometimes it can be difficult to hold a companion inventory at the end of our planning session right before we set goals for ourselves and as a companionship. I like to set goals based on what my companion and I have discussed and what I feel inspired to work on. I’m used to having a least a little feedback from my companions, but it feels like Sister Peterson is grasping for straws for constructive criticism fo me! Haha! I know I have so much to work on. So so so much. But Sister Peterson is so kind and forgiving to me. Nearly since Sister Peterson has been here, along with my list of daily miracles, I’ve kept a daily entry for things I love about Sister Peterson. Humility, patience, and love have been three reoccurring themes throughout our time together. I know Sister Peterson isn’t perfect, but I can only imagine how much more humility, patience, and love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for all, when Sister Peterson is such an example of humility and being possessed by charity. She has been a colossal blessing to my life, and to members, friends, and strangers alike here in Spring Lake.

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p dir=”ltr”>As we’ve moved forward together finding ways to improve, I’ve done what I can to help her turn to the scriptures and prayer when there is something she is struggling with. I feel like we both struggle with being too self critical, but we usually compliment each other in that way, so we can help lift each other up. When I’m down on myself, she lifts me up. When she’s down on herself, I do what I can to encourage her and validate how she’s feeling, but ultimately try and turn her to prayer. When I’m socially exhausted, she’s a ball of energy and helps me have more energy, and vice versa.

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p dir=”ltr”>I’ve lately felt like a horrible trainer and like I still have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m trying to turn to my leaders for help and guidance, and doing everything I can to prepare Sister Peterson to be prepared to train, should she be called to train after her training. She has so much love and patience, and I have no doubt that she would be a bright example of turning to the Lord and loving others to a new missionary. So I’m just going to be more prayerful about what I can do to help her. She’s already doing so much on her own, and I feel like she has taught me more than I’ve taught her! …

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p dir=”ltr”>That is most of my shpuel…spewl…sp…ugh. Is that even a word?? XD Anyway, this is pretty much how I’ve been feeling this week, but I feel like I made some goals that I can go off of for the next little while.

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p dir=”ltr”>We did have a lot of really neat service opportunities, both with an organization called "Operation Christmas Child" and "gobbling" people with Michelle for Thanksgiving. Turns out you can do similar activities to "boo-ing" people for Halloween, for other holidays. (You basically make treats and ding dong ditch people you love, and invite them to do it too lol). Getting into the spirit of service, and already can’t wait for Christmas!!!

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p dir=”ltr”>Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me recently! It means a lot, and I’m trying to get better at an effective response time, but this work of course, takes priority. And dont stress if you want to reach out, but can never find the time to. Trust me- I totally understand haha. Hope you all have an amazing week, and that y’all have started getting ready to have s delicious, and disgustingly large meal over a turkey. XD Literally one of the only days of the year we allow ourselves to get lazy with pretty much any diet we made a goal to keep. But that’s okay, because food is yummy. As one of my favorite people says (very much paraphrased of course),"If I die eating, I’ll die happy." Couldn’t agree more!

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p dir=”ltr”>Love you all!

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p dir=”ltr”>Sister (Katie) Malan

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p dir=”ltr”>P.S. Literally just realized I took no pictures this week lol sorry

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p dir=”ltr”>Pictures! (I Found A Puppy To Play With!, ‘Sup, Gobble Gobble Gobble!, The Gobble Team!, Sister Peterson Thinking of Gobbling Me…)

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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