Sunday, September 6, 2015

Words from Sister Abbie Waite in Texas

Dear all, 

I know this is late... But you've got to let me explain! Missionary work is the greatest! We were sitting at the library and I had this email about 1/4 of the way finished, when the woman sitting across from me peeked around her screen and asked "Are you from Ancestry?" to which I enthusiastically replied "YES! I can help you if you need it!" ... Long story short, I just spent an hour helping her figure out how to use Family Search, find a couple names on her tree, and fix a couple mistakes. I also referred her to the near-by family history center because they know so much more than I do! She was so excited! I was so excited! It was all just so exciting! 

... But in the mean time... The computer logged me out and I lost all that I had typed. But never fear! Missionary work is still the greatest! 😄

I am happy to report that all is well in Zion... and by that I mean in the great Merrilltown/Heritage Trail area of the mighty Texas San Antonio Mission! 

The Lord blessed us this last week with so many prepared people who were eager to hear the message of the Restoration! The Lord is definitely pouring out his blessings in this area! We found a family! I'm excited to help them receive the gospel and continually invite them to come unto Christ! 

These wards are amazing. Most (if not all) of the members have caught a vision of missionary work that is a wonder to behold. We receive referrals left and right. They accept our invitation to invite their friends to partake of the gospel. They are eager to fellowship those whom we are finding through our own efforts and truly welcome them in. They are excited when a lost sheep returns to the fold and welcome them in with open arms. They make an effort to do their family history work and attend the temple regularly. Now, by no means are they perfect in these things, but they are trying, and that's the only thing that we can truly be perfect in. Watching them is helping me set goals and make plans for a year from now when I am again one of "them". Truly great examples! 

Something neat happened yesterday: We were sitting reverently in the Merrilltown sacrament meeting when I heard some chaos happening behind us (which is not uncommon in a ward with so many children). Pretty soon it quieted down, and I heard the restless girl's father say "Look at the sister missionaries. How are they sitting?" He waited for her response and then said "Yes, very reverently. Do you want to be a sister missionary?" It was then that I realized just how much we are watched. Missionaries set such an example. And not just missionaries! Everyone! All members of the church are lights for the rest of the world! But do we act like it all the time?

This week I have been repeatedly humbled. It hasn't been easy, but I have definitely recognized things that I need to improve on. And I can't complain because I asked for it! The Lord is good! And I know that as I continue to recognize my weakened and fallen state, I will be opening the door to receive strength from God to overcome. Change is not comfortable, but you know what they say: "There's no growth in a comfort zone, and no comfort in a growth zone!" 

There's something that President Slaughter said on my first day in the field that has stuck with me and I think about it often: "You can't just be consistent. You have to be steady." But what does it mean to be steady? So 
I studied. And then I studied it some more. If President says that I need to be steady, then I'm going to do all I can to be so! 

Sister Cheryl C. Lant said: "We learn that our conversion to the “true faith” precedes our ability to remain firm, steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments."

So I knew that I needed faith if I wanted to be steady. So every morning I would say to myself: "Today is going to be the greatest day in the history of missionary work. I have faith that Heavenly Father will lead us to those He has prepared. He will fill our mouths with the right words. We will be on time all day and preach by the way to every person we see. I have faith."

But is that true faith? 

The answer? No.

True faith was demonstrated by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in Daniel 3. King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to throw them into a fiery furnace if they would not worship the idol that he had built. This was their response: 

"17: If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18: But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."

That is a statement of true faith. Elder Dennis E. Simmons said:

 "They knew that they could trust God--even if things didn’t turn out the way they hoped. They knew that faith is more than mental assent, more than an acknowledgment that God lives. Faith is total trust in Him...
We must have the same faith as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not … . He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not. … He will deliver us from death or impairment of loved ones, but if not, … we will trust in the Lord."

True faith comes when we can say "I have faith that Heavenly Father will help, but if not, I still have faith."

"Our discipleship need not be dried out by discouragement..." -Elder Neal A. Maxwell

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)

May we all exercise true faith and become truly steady! 

Sister Waite 

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