Sunday, January 17, 2016

I've learned that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is completely simple!

I wish I could leave my weekly email to just that one sentence to emphasize my point. But fortunately, I have too many stories to back it up. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is (as I've learned since a young age) faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. Yet in between all of the other doctrines or commandments given to us, or all of the little things we do as members of the church such as attend church activities, complete things such as personal progress or Duty to God, prepare to serve missions, take seminary, etc., the point and purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ gets lost, and all of those other things become meaningless. This relates 100% with missionary work. 

The first step to everything we do is faith. And I would say that before my mission, I considered myself a pretty faithful person. I felt like that was a strength of mine that I could put all of my trust in God, because of my relationship with Him that I had worked hard at to develop. Of course coming on a mission, I've had my faith tested by doing a work for a year and a half that could not be done without faith. 

In this mission, our mission president has a standard set for every missionary to help at least one person be baptized every month. I haven't made that standard on my mission. I've worked really hard, I've kept positive my whole mission, I'm always setting goals, I'm not letting myself get discouraged, etc. But the other day, our Zone Leader called us to talk with us. They said they did some statistics with the Assistants while they were on exchanges this past week. They said they noticed that the missionaries that get baptisms every month are usually the same missionaries every month. They asked those missionaries why they were able to do that, and they all replied that they believed they could do it. They had faith in their investigators. 

As I thought about that, I realized I had lacked in faith towards that standard. I didn't realized how necessary faith was and why we need to believe in the people we teach. I feel like I covered it up with saying they weren't prepared, or that I was serving God in other ways other than by helping people to be baptized. But really, the big thing missing, and the thing that I want to develop more than anything is complete faith. Our District Leader said that there's a difference between believing that God CAN do these things, and believing that He WILL do these things.

So, this realization has brought me to repentance, yet given me so much hope for the time I have left. And I can testify that it's already brought miracles! Sister Haupt and I did two exchanges this week - both of which brought many, many new investigators into our area, including our most prepared investigator - Yang. I don't even have enough time or space to write about her and how much I love her!! But basically, Sister Haupt and Sister Beeston met her on exchanges, and she literally lives 3 floors above our Bishop (about 80% of the people we've met recently all seem to live outside of our area). She is from Mainland China so she has the COOLEST accent! She moved here not 6 months ago since her husband is Taiwanese. As most of you may know, there is very little religious freedom in China, but Yang has always wanted to believe in a God despite the atmosphere she grew up in. They met her on Tuesday and we've met with her two more times since then because she's so interested in knowing more. At first, she seemed really weirded out by Joseph Smith and the priesthood that's been restored to this church. She's very real and doesn't believe things right away, so teaching her about the Holy Ghost was probably the most spiritual lesson I've ever been in. She was so moved that she could find out for herself through the power of the Holy Ghost.

We had her over for dinner at a member's house yesterday and she said she's been praying for truth her whole life and she feels like she's close to finding her answer. Our member opened his mouth and told her that meeting two missionaries the other day was already an answer to her prayers, and the spirit filled the room.

As I've pondered on this as well as other occurrences that have happened this week, I've realized that faith is the first and most important step. It's really as simple as that! Developing the faith is next - it takes effort on our part. Prayer, study, pondering, patience. But the reward is more beautiful than anything else I've ever experienced. We can literally put our faith in God. He is our creator and our Father in Heaven and He LOVES us. He wants us to have happy lives. We can trust that not only CAN He give us everything we need, but also that He WILL.

Too great of a week. TOO GREAT. I wish I had more time to talk about every little thing that happens every day that strengthens my faith. There's just too much good in this world to even express or grasp! 

Okay last thing - On Sunday, I was asked to do a lot of things that I just can't do haha. They invited me to play the piano in sacrament meeting to accompany our Bishop singing A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, and then to translate all 3 hours of church for some travelers from America. Definitely thrown out of my comfort zone. But it was really cool applying faith into those things, and seeing how much God has helped me in learning Chinese on my mission when I thought it would be impossible when I first arrived. As well as bringing some piano skills back to memory on the spot haha. 

Well I hope that's not too long. Tried to keep it as simple as possible. Have a great week!
Sister Hendricks

Exchanges with Sister Roberts! Probably the best exchange I've ever been on. She's been on island for only about 4 weeks. And guess where she's from? Marietta, Georgia! I'm so grateful for the life-long friends I've made on my mission. 
Frisbee in the rain at 6 AM with the BEST ZONE EVER!

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