Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Life is Fair Because Christ's Atonement is Infinite
You can never get enough sleep. Seriously. After daily planning each night, I change into my pjs, brush my teeth, write like two sentences in my journal, say a prayer, then go to sleep. I do all of that in like 5 minutes because every minute counts. I've been pretty good about making sure to write in my journal each day but some nights I literally only have the energy for my two sentence before I'm out. Then in the morning the alarm goes off once before it goes off at 6:30 to say that I definitely really do have to get up now. Rolling over and getting those extra 5 minutes seems vitally important in the morning before I literally roll out of bed to say my morning prayer. But in the last few days I decided that was a very bad attitude to start my day and so have been trying to get up as the alarm first goes off in the morning. And S.McCleery and I recently decided that we would get up at 6 so that we can have a full 45 minutes to exercise because 20 minutes just isn't enough. That exercise time has been great. I feel so healthy. Why had I not been getting consistent daily exercise before the mission?!
This week we made improvements on our daily planning. S.McCleery and I talked over our daily planning and our goal setting. I explained how we learned in the MTC that the first thing you should do when it comes to planning is to set goals. And those goals she be based on your weekly goals. As in what do I have to do today in order to achieve our goals for the week. Then we plan to attain those goals. It made a big difference this week. It also made us a lot more enthusiastic about everything we did this week because we know that as we set goals and make plans, the Lord will help us do what we need to. The first day we didn't achieve our goals but we know we were in all the right places at the right times.
This week we also set up a weekly service appointment for a less active man and his non-member wife. HE HAS HORSES!!! So every week on either Wednesday or Thursday morning at 11, we'll go over to clean hooves and give them a bath. Oh man! Do I wish it wasn't against the white handbook to ride horses on our p-day because I can assure you. I now know quite a few persons in our ward who have horses and I would totally be willing to spend every p-day grooming horses if it also meant I got to ride them. Actually I wouldn't mind just spending everyday grooming horses. I wonder if Sister McGuinness in our ward would be willing to hire a hand for a few months after I'm done with my mission? It's actually rather amazing that we were able to set this service appointment because we had been talking about doing it since I arrived but had never been able to get a hold of them. I was the one who was really into setting that up so S.McCleery had said "alright, you're in charge of setting that up." She said that about two weeks ago and for a few days I didn't give it a second thought. But Tuesday, we were about to walk out of the apartment when I picked up our cell phone and called this family, just out of the blue. They picked up on the first ring and we set the service for the very next day. It was such a simple thing but I know it was inspired. It made me think; S.McCleery is often saying that in a companionship we're each receiving 50% of the revelation and sometimes we designate eachother in charge of things and it struck me that by assigning me in charge of that we were also assigning me any revelation we might have pertaining to them.
Another thing S.Mc and I learned this week (actually we relearned it) is that sometimes you're hitting brick walls because you're going about something the wrong way. I say we relearned it because about three weeks ago there was a less active family that we kept trying to see. In fact, we tried to see them three times without being able to get to them. But then we prepared a lesson for someone else and that appointment fell through so we felt like we should try to see this less-active family and share the lesson if we got a hold of them. It was exactly the lesson they needed to hear and they've been making/seeing some real improvements in their life since then. We relearned it this week because there's an appointment that we kept trying to set up that kept falling through and it had to happen a third time before we realized that oh, this isn't how we should be trying to do this. Now whenever S.Mc and I can't get through to someone we retrace our steps and see what we needed to do instead of what we did do.
I received the Easter package from Mom on Friday and S.Mc also received her family Easter package. It was really funny/sweet because both mothers sent double so that our companions could share with us. Something really awesome about S.Mc's mom is that she always gets this clear plastic Easter egg that she sticks a picture of Jesus in with an Easter scripture stuck to the outside. One year, she apparently didn't have time to make the Jesus egg and the whole family boycotted their baskets until she made everyone their Jesus eggs. And apparently, when she sent an Easter package to S.Mc's brother Trevor on his mission she only had room for one candy egg or the Jesus egg. She put in the Jesus egg at the insistence of the rest of the family and he wrote in his email when he received it that he realized that she didn't have much room and was glad that she had made the right choice in sending him the Jesus egg instead of candy. I just found the whole story very cute and entertaining.
We've been trying REALLY hard to work a lot more with our members and so it was absolutely amazing yesterday that we got THREE MEMBER PRESENT LESSONS! EASTER MIRACLES! No but it was really awesome because two of them resulted in a new investigator and the third one is a potential investigator for missionaries in a different area. What had happened is our Easter dinner had ended up running really long because it was with this great member family who had invited a few other members and it's hard to escape those conversations and one of them was the photographer for the Trek they just had so we were going through the Trek pictures and trek videos. So when we finally left we only had time for one more visit. Brother Schott in our ward had asked us to bring him a Book of Mormon in Spanish for a coworker of his who was expressing interest in the Gospel so we knew we had to drop that off at his house and decided that's where we needed to go. When we got there, his non-member nephew was there and we got into a discussion about his beliefs. He said he was very open and he talked about all these things that he could believe but when we asked a few more questions he told us what he believed was that there was probably a God but that he had simply created the world and stepped back leaving it to his own devices. After all, what good, just God would let so much bad happen in the world. We ended up teaching him just a little bit about the Plan of Salvation and committing him to pray with Alma 32:27-28.
But it was amazing because I had actually just in the last few days been working on this idea/essay sort of thing which I had titled "If there is a God." It's basically an argument for if there is a god and he's a loving god and you believe that then the Church of Jesus Christ is the only religion that makes sense. But I was totally prepared to address all of his questions. I think a lot of people get caught on if there is a god then he must be a cruel or uncaring God. But, the Plan of Salvation addresses that. It all comes down to his purpose for us and agency. If God, as many people agree, is our Heavenly Father then we as his children are meant to grow and become perfect "even as our father which is in heaven is perfect." So we come to this life to grow. But we can't do that without agency. Without agency we would be like children learning to walk who's parents never allow us to stand on our own or fall over and learn to pick ourselves up. We need trials and mistakes to grow. And to allow that he has to grant everyone agency. But to be just in granting agency he has to let everyone make their decisions whether good or evil. He can't stop people from making bad decisions (like a person driving drunk who will maybe hit and kill someone that night) because that means he isn't allowing them the same agency as he has granted to the woman who donates her time and money to the local food kitchen each week. And yes, it's painful for our Heavenly Father to watch the suffering that occurs because he loves us but he also knows that he must allow it.
But the ultimate message, is that life is fair because Christ's Atonement is infinite. And because his Atonement is infinite - all that seems unjust in this life is made right through Christ's Atonement.
So make good choices, have faith, and believe
And remember that I love you and God loves you
Love - Sister Kalene Gillespie