Whew! I felt like it has been such a long week, but then again I can't believe it's already been a week. I guess the mission is funny like that. Hmm, don't really know where to start. I guess I'll start by saying this has been a very humbling week for me (maybe that's why it felt like so long). Coming back to the Visitor Center was a harder transition than I anticipated. When you're out full-field, it almost feels like the Visitor Center is looked down upon, that it's not "real" work, and the Laie Zone Leaders are jokingly known as the Relief Society Presidents because of all the Sisters that serve here. When I got back here I was still full of my usual energy and love for the Sisters that I was reunited with once again, but once the excitement of everything being new again died, I found myself looking back at being full-field and wishing for what I had before instead of looking forward to the journey that laid ahead of me in this work.
When I first started having these feelings I printed out the talk by Elder Holland, "Remember Lot's Wife," given at a BYU Devotional many years ago. It speaks about this very thing, in not looking back, longing for the past, but looking forward with a willing heart to do ALL that the Lord wants us to do. I knew Heavenly Father wanted me to remember this scripture when it popped up in my personal study as well. I knew I needed to change my attitude and pray for help. Then, just as Heavenly Father always has, my endless prayers were answered.
We had our usual ward coordination meeting with our Ward Mission Leader and his wife. After we discussed ward business, she shared a couple of her thoughts with us. She talked about something that was exactly what I needed to hear! She helped me remember and understand that we are merely God's instruments in His hands. The second we start thinking about ourselves we lose sight of God's greater plan; we lose sight of the bigger picture or an eternal perspective. So that was something I knew I needed to do...."Forget yourself, and get to work" (Pres. Hinckley's Father). When I made the decision to do just that, and rely on the help of Heavenly Father as well as my companion, we finally saw the miracles we were fasting and praying for.
So, a story many know is that I had always wanted to serve my mission in Tokyo, Japan. I was convinced that was where I was going, so needless to say, I was a little shocked to see Hawaii on my mission call!...Hah, don't worry, it didn't affect my excitement for my call to come to Hawaii ;) Last week I mentioned our investigator, Shane. Shane is from Japan, and came to Hawaii not knowing what the future would hold, just that he knew he wanted to come here. Well, Sister Toleafoa and I have been really worried that he might become a former investigator real fast because of his complete unbelief in God. We didn't know what to do. We kind of felt stuck after our first appointment in teaching him that God is our loving Heavenly Father. We prayed and fasted for him and kept him in every prayer that we said. Well, we had an appointment with him this week and he opened up SO much, asking us such good questions! We finally were able to get him to tell us that although he doesn't believe in God, he would like to. We told him that the best way to know God is to pray to him! We invited him to pray, and he said yes!!! It was the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard. He so sincerely thanked Heavenly Father for sending him here to Hawaii to meet the missionaries. He thanked Him for being patient with him as he tries to learn about God. Sister Toleafoa and I walked out of the appointment crying. It was such a dear moment for us....and it doesn't end there. On Sunday, in Sacrament meeting (which is the last hour of church), he comes and sits with us as if we had been friends for years. He was singing the hymns, and said he genuinely liked listening to the testimonies. After church we set an appointment with him, and then....HE invited US to go and play volleyball on Tuesday night (tonight) with some people in the ward!! Our minds were blown, but we felt so honored. We know we have to start small and simple in teaching him, but we are already seeing the seed begin to grow.
I am so grateful for the trials God gives us. He knows what will help us to grow and become who we need to be. I know that I cannot ever look back at the past, but look forward. "Remember Lot's Wife." Remember that God has a plan for each and every one of us. Remember that if we are keeping the commandments and willing to do as he asks, we need never fear, but feel full of hope and peace. Although the adversity we might face today, I know, and am a living witness, that it will always be for our good (D&C 121:7-8). I love you all so much!!! I feel your prayers, and pray for you all daily. Have another miraculous week =)
O te Alofa ia te oi,