This week was insane! Why? Cause I didn't work at all. I was so sick! But I learned sooo much. It's unreal. Last Sunday I got viral bronchitis and it knocked me out! Hard. And then later in the week, I don't even know what happened... I had bad stomach pains for a few days. As my companion, Sister Brown said, "Wow, this is the worst you've been the whole time we've been together!" and that is saying something! Yep, a different sickness. But as I have found as a get different sicknesses one after another, I'm so grateful for them! It's pretty hard to describe, but so true. I have really healthy practices, I promise.
But Tuesday after district meeting, when I couldn't go out to work, I felt super discouraged. Like you just witnessed a miracle last week in your health and now you aren't strong enough spiritually to see it again? Not strong enough to push yourself to the level you need? Many people have told me that a mission is like a lifetime of experiences wrapped into 18 months, and I totally get it now. The highs are higher, the lows are lower not to mention happening so close together. Usually I'm just used to be sick, going with the flow, I've learned well but after my hopes had just been raised so high, it came down pretty hard. I blame it that I was studying hope last week as my Christlike attribute and needed to REALLY understand what hope was, or how to really conquer discouragement. And I'm so happy to say that I totally did! While I was sick, I did nothing but sleep, eat and read general conference issues of the Liahona looking for quotes on hope and conquering discouragement and staying optimistic in trials and I found so many! Man, I am SO grateful for general conference! It is exactly what I needed this week and I could not have survived without it! Here are just a few of the quotes I found:
"It is my desire to be an instrument in bringing about a restoration of your faith in our loving Father in Heaven, who knows all things and allows us to experience trials so that we can come to love Him and understand that without Him we have nothing."
-Elder Shayne M. Bowen
If there is one thing I have learned through all this, it is just how nothing I really am. Without Him, I don't even have the strength to get out of bed before 10am! But with Him, despite our own nothingness, we can work miracles.
"When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading with your "unbelief as it were... I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I AM asking you to be true to the faith you DO have."
"Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe."
-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"There will always be things to complain about. But that isn't the journey you had hoped for, and it's not the journey Heavenly Father sent you to take."
"Look for the happiness your Father in Heaven has prepared for you in EVERY step of your journey."
-Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I know that there is always happiness, if you find it or make it! Even if it includes drawing thought bubbles on a whiteboard (see the pictures) or playing with your camera's settings or just telling funny stories. Laughter really is the best medicine. And if you know me at all, it's something I'm way good at :)
"Trials may come, and we may not understand everything that happens to us or around us. But if we humbly, quietly trust in the Lord, He will give us strength and guidance in every challenge we face. When our only desire is to please Him, we will be blessed with a deep inner peace."
-Elder Neil L. Anderson
"Though I suffered then, as I look back now, I am grateful that there was not a quick solution to my problem. The fact that I was forced to turn to God for help almost daily over an extended period of years taught me truly how to pray and get answers to prayer and taught me in a very practical way to have faith in God. I came to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father in a way and to a degree that might not have happened otherwise or that might have taken me much longer to achieve... I learned to true the Lord with all my heart. I learned to walk with Him day by day."
-Elder D. Todd Christofferson
And then the entire talk on Hope by Pres. Uchtdorf which I wrote down in my other journal. Life saver! I know that we all stumble and fall whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. and can get discouraged but as we turn to Him, we can find the hope in our lives once more and the peace the comes with it. The capability to overcome every trial no matter how large or overwhelming. Kaya naton. We can do it!
Many of you have written me this week about my previous letter and about how it's helped you and you've shared with others and I'm so grateful! Keep it up! I'm really grateful that so many have fasted for me this past Sunday and I can definitely feel of your spiritual strength and love. Thank you so much for all your support and I couldn't have done it without you. I decided that even as the sickest missionary ever, I'm still the happiest and there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be. Missions are for the missionary and I feel that in a very big way. Growing in a way that I never could've in a different situation.
Yesterday, Sister Brown counted down how many Sundays I have left, 8! That's so small! And it kinda made me sick. Not that I don't love you and miss you and all that... but I love my mission! And then I realized my feelings are like Rapunzel when she's about to see the floating lanterns or fulfilling her dreams. It's been the dream of her life for so long she doesn't know what she'll do when it's over! And then I pondered, what did Rapunzel do after her dream was fulfill? She found this boy then... oh. Turns out my life is more like Tangled then I would've initially thought ha.
Love you all and hope you have a great week!