The journey is the reward

10:11:00 PM

Okay the I got the title from the wrapper of chopsticks we got from Panda Express today and thought it was  a pretty accurate description of a mission. This week my emotions were kind of up and down. We started off the transfer on Wednesday strong by leaving our car at home and just walking to our appointments. It was actually really nice because this whole week has been really windy/breezy so we weren't scorched by the sun. We continued to teach our investigator Bryan, and he even attended a baptism with us on Saturday! He just left us hanging right after though, and didn't come to church even though he said he would. We were just super sad because we don't know how to help him understand the importance of keeping commitments or coming to church (even though we've already talked about it and he's always so happy to). And for us, it's so easy for us to be hard on ourselves because it feels like there's always more we CAN do to help him. But I realized that there are so many factors or circumstances that are out of our control, and everyone will have to exercise their agency - whether we like their choices or not. We want our investigators to progress and know for themselves if the gospel is true because we know there are so many blessings that they can receive, so much more peace in their lives. But we really can't control their actions.

But that's okay. Usually on Sunday, we have at least one less active sister that sits by us because we're taking her to church, and sometimes an investigator or two, but yesterday was sad because she was feeling sick, so we sat by ourselves :( On the bright side, Bowe and Kiona (Bishop Chun's grandsons, who we're teaching) came to church with their dad. The theme of this month is on the Atonement and two returned sister missionaries spoke in sacrament meeting yesterday. Both Sister Blackner and I just teared up a lot because what they said was pretty much exactly what we needed to hear. The enabling strength of the Atonement is what we all need to press forward through our trials. When we recognize how much help we really need, and the amount of trust we have in Heavenly Father, that's when we can just let go of our fears and burdens.

Sometimes I have nooo idea what we're doing, as we meet strangers, get to know them, and share what we know to be true. There are days when we feel like we aren't seeing the fruits of our efforts, even if we're obedient. But yesterday was honestly filled with tender mercies. One returned missionary was a missionary nurse in the Philippines, and she said that being a missionary is painful. Some of those missionaries contracted diseases that caused them to stay in the hospital for weeks, and they had to endure through the pain, but they learned that because they couldn't draw from their own strength, they had to rely on the strength of the Lord. Yesterday we also got a referral from Sister Wright, and she thinks her good friend will be receptive to the message we share :) And! Later on in the afternoon, after we tried to visit a family who wasn't at home, we talked to a girl that looked around our age, not even knowing that she was actually a member who should be coming to our ward, but isn't. Tiffany is really cool, and she has medical condition that causes her to be in a lot of pain all over her body. I love what she shared with us about how she realized that when her relationship with God was strong, she was able to cope with her pain better, and I know for a surety that's because of the strength we receive from the Atonement. We also got to know her husband, who's in the marine corps :) I definitely know sometimes we have no idea what we're doing, but if we're doing good, Heavenly Father sets things in place for us to find His children that need a little spiritual boost. :)

Being a missionary is emotionally, physically, and mentally draining. I joked the other day to Sister Blackner that the way we worry about the people we serve, the way we wonder how much more we can help them (whether it's spiritually, emotionally, etc), the way we love them, must be similar somehow to how we feel one day when we're parents. I hope that's a good thing, because it means we're developing our charity and showing Heavenly Father's love for them. There are some days we think we can do it all, and just be bold, but other days when we feel completely helpless because nothing is working out the way we expect. The experiences we have I will always cherish because as we become converted to Heavenly Father, we set the foundation we need to endure through the rest of our lives. To handle tough situations, to trust in Him when there's nothing else we can do. 

We're also working with a new investigator named Kahea and she's got a little 5 month old baby. She said that being a mother helped her to be more responsible in life, now knowing she has to set the example for her child. She thinks we're cool, so she always says "yeah, let's cruise" (cruise is like local saying for hang out), and she says she'll teach us paddling when we come back after our mission. Anyway, we're going to continue teaching her and we have so much fun because she's close to our age too. :)

Side thought:
Last night and this morning was really surreal for me. A less active sister that we've been visiting, in her 70s, pretty much was really sick when we first met her, and was almost gone last night when we visited, and passed away this morning. I think it's because I've never watched someone go through the process of being really sick and then just gone. We visited her daughter and brought her Panda Express for lunch and we ate together for a while. Another friend we know, her older brother was pretty much hit badly by a speeding car late at night and is so badly injured all over his body. I realize just how precious every day is, especially with our families. That the time we have to spend with the people we love is limited, and it can be gone just like that. But I'm glad Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us, so we have the chance to live together with our families and loved ones again.

P.S. Sorry I write a lot, just have a lot of thoughts and feelings sometimes haha. And I wish I had the time to write it all in my journal! Working on that..

Scripture of the week: Ether 12:27
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

My arm looks huge but I promise it's not that big.. Sister Blackner eating Vietnamese food for the first time!

Elder Morrey and Elder Meredith left the Zone this transfer

Sister Meyer above(Relief Society President) and Sister Tanuvasa for lunch

Sister Blackner getting jumped during March Madness (funny story actually) She really is a baller. I just went for back up in case she threw up (we were just eating dinner)

Kahea's family has a pet pig...her name is Spooky, she's a wild pig. So huge haha

Last night, since it was dark, one our way to the car, Sister Blackner stepped in the worst smelling poo ever. We had a lot of laughs, but I could not breathe...

I know this looks gross but it doesn't taste gross. It's called lau lau, and that stuff is ti leaves. It was interesting, but good. 

Sister Wu

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