Monday, January 2, 2017

Focusing on the One (Update #22)

In all honestly this week has been a little slow. We have people to
teach, but with the holidays it's been really hard to arrange rendezvous with them and none
of them are really progressing right now, which is almost harder than
not having anyone to teach. And we've been spending a lot of time
unsuccessfully trying to find new people to teach.

I'd be lying if I said it's not a little discouraging. It makes me ask
myself questions like "why am I here, obviously there are a million
people out there that could do a better job at this than me?" Or "Why
did God take me away from my loved ones and school and life for 18
months to track down less actives that don't exist and get stood up by
our Amis?" And the killer: "am I wasting God's time?"

But, at the end of the day, I'm grateful for weeks like this. I'm
grateful because it reminds me the real reason WHY I'm here on a
mission. I didn't come here to convert the whole world, I didn't come
here to teach a million lessons every week, I am here because I know
that Jesus Christ lives. I know that we are all children of a Heavenly
Father who loves us. Who somehow is aware of every single one of us
and has a plan for us each. I'm here because that knowledge has changed
my life and if I can share that message of hope and light and
happiness with anyone, it will be worth it.

On Sunday I asked one of the members how he would go about balancing
focusing on Cani (our recent convert) and focusing on his wife, Dona
who has just started expressing interest in the church. His response
really struck me, he said: "l'évangile est pour les uns" or the gospel
is for the ones. In other words, focus on them both. Treat them like
two separate people because they are. 

It reminds me of the scripture I chose as my mission scripture:
14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world. 
15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.     3 Nephi 11:14-15:  
The multitudes came unto Christ ONE BY ONE and that's the nature of
this gospel. I'm here on a mission to help the ones. To help the
Cani's, the Dona's, the individuals, to come unto Christ in any small
way that I can. And if some weeks that means working my butt off and
still feeling a little discouraged and ineffective, that's okay. And
at the end of the day, I have SO MUCH to be happy about and to be
grateful for, even on the harder days.

Speaking of finding joy in the ups and downs of the mission, my favorite Christmas gift this year was a daily calendar my mom made me.

On each day there is a picture and a quote for every day of 2017.
At first I kind of saw it as a count down until next year (aka the end of
my mission), but after a little while of looking through it, the way I
looked at it changed. Instead of representing the number of days left
between now and when I see my loved ones, it represents the number of days
left that I have to give my life to God for 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week. When I looked at it like that, the calendar started looking a
lot smaller. Somehow I've already been on my mission for 5 months
(wow, time flies). But I have 13 left and instead of focusing on
enduring the long days and hard work, I'm trying to remember to find
joy in the journey. After all, the whole purpose of our existence is
"so that (we) might have joy," in every stage of life. Whether it be
missionary work, school, real work, raising kids, quoi que ce soit
that's stressing you out, remember to find some joy in it at the same

And with that I wish you the happiest year of 2017!! I love you!
Soeur Cami Goold 

Here is a picture of Cami when she met Soeur Wilson for the first time! 

This is Cami, Soeur Wilson, and Lucie, a young woman from their ward who is preparing to serve a mission soon too! 

Dinner at the Smurthwaite's home with Elders Smith and Laurens.

Today for P-day, they visited the Musee de Beaux Arts in Lyon.

Another picture from the Fetes de Lumieres a couple of weeks ago.  

 Christmas dinner at the Smurthwaite's home and also the location where she made her Christmas day phone call from.   Cami LOVES the Smurthwaite  family.

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