December 2, 2013
This week was a lot better! I decided to stop looking at my new responsibilities as a problem and start looking at them as an opportunity. I finally realized how much of a privilege it is to open an area. Yes, it's hard. Killer hard. But, how cool is it to know that I have the opportunity to open several areas and know that, years down the road, missionaries will keep on working there and I get to have the blessing of knowing that I was a part of getting that thing started. So worth it.
One of the things that made it worth it was going to a Stake Training that we had and I saw my old ward, Internacional, there with Hermana Dickey and her new companion. That sweet little ward, the ward that had been given to us being called "the broken, apostasy ward" had the biggest group there. Someone came up to me and said "Hermana Simonson, what did you do in Internacional? Look at them now!" My heart hurt a little bit because I longed to be with them again. Sometimes, the hardest things in life, the things that we suffer for the most, are the things that we come to love the most. That was Internacional for me.
Of course, I know that I personally didn't do anything for this once-broken ward. Every miracle that happened there came from God, but Hermana Dickey and I had the opportunity to be God's hands there for a short time. Just a short time ago, the ward got missionaries for the first time in a long time, and now they are growing and changing and it's a beautiful miracle. Despite all the struggles we had as we opened that area, I looked at that sweet ward and thought "you know what? That was worth it. I would totally do it again."
Then, I snapped my attention back to my new little ward in front of me and thought "oh ya, I am doing it again!" and decided to focus on the opportunities that I have in my new area.
It was hard to watch my time end in Internacional, but I remembered a story I heard in the MTC about two waves that had passed through the whole ocean, then saw their time coming to an end and prepared to break on a beach. One wave said that he was sad that his time was ending, then the other pointed out that his time would end, but his influence would never end. He may have just been one wave, but he was part of the ocean. My time ended in Internacional, but Internacional will keep going strong and this new area that I'm opening will do the same. I am starting to realize that opening an area is like being a wave starter, and it's an awesome opportunity!
We had a cool experience on Sunday when we got to Church and didn't have a single investigator there. We had stopped by a few houses, but no one was there. We were sitting in Relief Society and I just thought "You know what, after a great week like this, we can't be alone in Sacrament Meeting!" There were two people that we really wanted to bring to church that day, so we got up and returned to one house and this time knocked a lot harder and she came out in her PJs and we insisted that she came to church and she hurried and changed. I thought maybe we'd been a little harsh with her for yanking her out of bed, but as we walked to church she said, "Thanks for coming to get me. I really wanted to come but thought it was too late." She ended up loving all the meetings.
Then, we went for a sweet old woman that we've been teaching and she was sitting in her house reading her Book of Mormon. I said "look, you're already ready to go to church, let's go!" She explained that she couldn't because of one thing and another but we kept insisting and she looked a little frustrated and said "Fine, if you came here to get me let's just go." While she changed, it started to rain really, really hard and she said she couldn't go in the rain, but we went out to the corner and flagged a motokar and picked her up. We started driving to the church and I looked at this sweet little lady getting soaked and just thought "Oh no, what have I done?" She's going to get sick and it's my fault! Why did I have to be so insistent?
After Sunday School, I asked if she was cold and she said it was okay, because her heart felt warm. Then, she got up in Sacrament and bore her testimony and said how grateful she was to have come to church that day and said that she was sitting in her house sad because no one wanted to come to church with her, and then we came and picked her up and it made her happy. Then, in front of everyone, she said "Because of this, I have decided that I will be baptized this month." I couldn't believe it. It was such a beautiful experience to see how being a little bold paid off and she could feel our love and knew why we wanted her to come to church.
I just love these people SO much. When I stop thinking about the struggles and just focus on the fact that my main responsibility is to love, the mission is a whole new experience...it's exactly what it should be!! I am here to love.