This week was a good one, filled with lots of learning experiences. I think one of my favorite things about serving a mission is being exposed to so many of my weaknesses and having no way to run away from them. Haha! The only way to get rid of the uncomfortable is to humble myself, turn to God and let Him strengthen and fix those things. I've realized at several different points on my mission that I have been a runner in the past, my pre-mission past, and I think several of us either are that way or have been, or switch back and forth. I realized many times in my life that when I became uncomfortable with a situation or a requirement, I metaphorically "packed up" and left it behind. Don't get me wrong, I mean I have endured things, but I think that most early-life things we endure are tangible ones. Things like a big upcoming test, or a cross country race, or an argument about who's turn it is to feed the fish. But bigger things, like flaws in our character, wedges in our relationships, long-term goals - those one's all seem to frighten me a bit more, so I'll leave them behind for the time being and say, "Oh, I'll take care of that when I have to." I know that I personally needed to come on a mission, to be placed in a position where I would have to analyze where I have been, what I have become, where I am now and where I want to be. This can be extremely painful and really hard and trust me it has been. It is the hardest, scariest thing to apply the things you are teaching to others to yourself. I often feel like I am one of my own investigators being humbled and put back and committed to a deeper conversion to Christ. But, I am so grateful to say, I am not a runner anymore! I am learning how to confront my weaknesses and my fears and my discomforts! I know that my Heavenly Father loves me perfectly and is pleased with who I am and who I am working to become, but I know there is always more I can do. And that doesn't scare me anymore. I'm not afraid anymore to acknowledge the fact that I'm not perfect, nor have I ever been perfect. Believe me! I always have known I am not perfect, but the idea of not being perfect scared me because I didn't even know where to begin, nor did I have the faith that I really could improve. My mission has been my refining fire that has given me the faith to know that I can change. Not only the people I teach can change, but I can change too! I have often heard people tell me this quote, "The greatest convert from your mission is yourself." I always thought that was sweet and a great idea. But, as I sit here this morning and think about where I am, I know that's true. I came here to Oregon to help others and strengthen them. But, on my mission I found myself and I truly feel like I have been saved, lifted up and brought home, closer to my Father in Heaven. It really doesn't seem fair that I have gained so much personally, while trying to give, but I now see why God called me to serve Him. He needed to save me, His daughter.
These are some of the most precious thoughts that I have right now and what I just shared with you is know one of my most valuable testimonies! I hope that it makes sense to you and I PLEASE want to hear from you your thoughts on it and your experiences regarding that topic.Tell me a story! Please, please share! I encourage you to find yourself in that process and figure out what you need to do next, allow yourself to change and improve. And most of all, please do not be afraid. I know how it feels to live in fear and to feel like things are not even possible, but I promise there has been a change in me that is much bigger than myself. I will never understand how it works, but I know that it is because of our loving Heavenly Father. One of my favorite scriptures, will always be, Isaiah 41:10. "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." I know with all my heart that is true! He will not leave us alone.
I am experiencing so many miracles here in the Willamette Ward and am so happy. The members in this ward are absolutely incredible and are heaven sent. They take care of us so well and are willing to support us in anything we ask. I have never experienced a ward quite like this. I think my favorite things this week come from two less-active members we have been working with. Their families have been working with us since I came into the area about two months ago. We have been exerting a lot of effort on them and really trying to strengthen their testimonies of the gospel. They both are convert families too, of between 5-6 years. This week, one of the families called us and gave us our second referral from them. They had set up a dinner with one of their friends, asked her to listen to a lesson and invited her to church! My heart is so full as I get to experience the joy of sharing the gospel with this family who joined the church and gained so much from their testimonies. Now they want it for each of their friends! And all it took was a rekindling and patience, then they were ready! The second family did a similar thing. We had set up a time to come see them, the day before she texted us and asked if we could teach her boyfriend at the lesson instead of just their family! Then he came to church as well. It was just so beautifully miraculous. I know the spirit changes us, it fills our souls and helps us to know the actions we need to take. It has been so amazing to be the missionary and to take the spirit to these members who hadn't felt it in awhile, and see what the spirit was prompting them to do! And then to see that they had enough faith to do what they were being prompted to do, was absolutely wonderful.
Overall, it was a great week and bonus - we got to go to the temple and participate in a session! I love this week!
I love you family, I am expecting some emails back with stories next week! And even if you're not family and you're reading this, write me about it too!
Xoxo, Sister Kerr