Sister Peng & I
Another week full of challenges. Another week full of growth. It's been a pretty difficult transition into this new area. But this week.. I really felt the power of the Atonement.
I've been trying to find the big difference between my experience in SongShan and XiZhi. Why does it seem like the work here is so much more difficult? Why can't we find anyone to listen to us? Why does it feel like all my effort is going to waste? What are we lacking in? What can I improve? Of course there's the language barrier that's been difficult between my companion and I. But I haven't been able to find out why my companion and I lack so much in unity. It makes it difficult to help this area progress if we aren't on the same page.
My companion has been struggling with her testimony for a long time. She often wonders why she's on her mission and struggles to feel God's love and guidance of the spirit..But this week, I saw everything turn around. It was amazing. Throughout the week, I looked for things I needed to change to help my companion and I. I stopped getting frustrated when I didn't understand her Chinese. I abandoned the mindset that my companion's way of doing things wasn't as great as "my way". I started listening to her. I started loving her. Truly loving her. Being not only her companion, but her friend.
One night after a long, tiring day of rejection and not much success, I asked her how she was doing and what I could do for her, and she completely opened up to me. The really amazing thing was that she was speaking in complete Chinese, and I truly understood every word. I know I was able to understand her because I was really listening with love. I think this was the first, most powerful time I have truly felt the power of the gift of interpretation since being on my mission. I felt like I finally understood her. After we talked, I felt very humbled. I really learned to swallow up my pride.
We had exchanges with our incredible sister training sisters this week and Sister Wu really helped me see things from a bigger perspective. I know that God puts us into our companionships and in our areas for a specific reason. Whether it be to prepare us for future family relations, or to learn a specific gospel principle. Whatever it is, it is all according to God's plan. I am learning so much from Sister Peng this transfer. Ever since I really stopped thinking that "my way" was better, and I really let myself be open to new ideas, and really work as a unit - everything has changed. I've focused more on loving her and encouraging her. I've really taken the advice she's given me as an opportunity to change and be a better companion.
Me and my favorite STL in the whole world! Sister Wu!!
I've seen such a change in Sister Peng this week... nothing is happening suddenly. But gradually, I can see her exercising more and more faith. I can see her efforts in really using the power of prayer and relying on God to change and find her relationship with him. She has really set an example to me of a righteous missionary. It reminds me of this quote by Hugh Nibley that I can't remember perfectly.. but basically he says that anybody who is repenting is a righteous man. Anyone using the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change is a truly righteous man.
Sister Peng has set that example for me. I know that because of Jesus Christ, we can change. All it takes is faith, and a lot of prayer. Sister Peng has proved to me that anyone can change through our Savior. I am so grateful I have been blessed with this challenge. Challenges really do bring blessings when we humbly accept that we need to change. When challenges arrive, I truly know that it's because God is giving us the opportunity to change.
I love my companion. I love this area. I love being God's missionary.
We met some friends!
A little taste of XiZhi rain!