Dear Family and Friends,
I know I’ve shared about Ether before, and the brother of Jared’s experience of humbly asking the Lord for guidance and such. But, reading it again, it seemed to have this new meaning for me, not just in helping investigators, but in a way, prepared me for what General Conference had to teach.
In the second verse of Ether 3, the brother of Jared explains how he feels about his weakness. He feels unworthy to even ask for help, and maybe, we could even say, “not enough” of something. But he acknowledges something that seemed to be a recurring in recent General Conference. He acknowledges trust in the commandment to pray. He made choices to be able to rely on the Lord the best he could, and therefore, receive willingly what God wanted to give him.
It was the perfect preparation for conference, and I didn’t realize it until I heard some of the talks. Each time I watch General Conference, I think it’s the best sessions yet. And that opinion stands true with this conference. Especially with President Uchtdorf‘s and Elder Holland‘s talks, I felt like despite weaknesses, we have a choice. Things in our lives may happen that are out of our control, but we’re never deprived of the choice we have in response, and we’re never left without the opportunity to grow. I encourage everyone to watch those talks. You never know what you’ll learn. If there’s one message that stood out to me, it’s that God knows us. God answers questions. It’s choices, not situations, that often determine where we end up.
Maybe this whole week seemed to be a study on how to handle trials, tough situations, all of that. I read about Zion’s Camp this week. Zion’s Camp, for all, was a refiner fire; for some, it was a time of chastening from complaining; and for others, it was a time of strength to become the future leaders in the church that would need to handle harder trials that lay ahead. In Our Heritage, many gave accounts of what a blessing it was to walk 1,000 miles with the prophet. Do we look at hard times with the thought that it’s not fair, limiting, or out of control, our control? Or do we see it as a chance to “walk those 1,000 miles with God”, so to speak?
This week, we made strides to help our investigator, แบงค์ (Bank), who is working through lots of things before he can get baptized. We focused on less actives and tried to help them see the need to attend church. After a long day, we made the decision to eat at the restaurant of a less active family. We sat and talked with the mother and grandmother for a while and simply bore our testimonies on why we were missionaries. The mom needed to go help cook, but the grandmother stayed out to wait tables, she sat down next to us and said “Sisters, you testimony made me feel really good. It’s been two months since I’ve been at church, and I miss it all so much”. At that moment, I felt like one of the reasons I was in Ayyuthaya became a little clearer. It may be hard with helping people get to church, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help in other ways. I still feel like one of the best ways to uplift people is to talk to them like you really care, because that’s how you can feel the spirit. If love isn’t present, it won’t help.
It’s almost as if I’m slowly painting the big picture of my mission, with every week, every transfer, every place, every conversation I have.
And speaking of paintings, we had a blast in Bangkok, doing, well, I’ll let the pictures explain.
Madeleine (Sister Powley)