First off, I don't think I could tell you how much I love the Salem family. My love for them grows constantly. It is such a unique feeling, and I don't think I have ever been more invested in someone's life or cared about them so deeply. They are amazing though, especially their father. We have been putting a lot of effort lately into making sure their parents are included in our discussions despite the language barrier. We are working on being able to have a translator for church and lessons and have even started working on the long term goals of them learning English. There is a member of our ward that came up with the idea to have a Sunday school class dedicated to teaching English in a gospel setting that we, as well as the Salems, are very excited about. But having the children translate works well enough now and we have been able to have some wonderful conversations. The other day their father expressed how much he desires to follow Jesus Christ, and that he is ready for this new knowledge so he can do that more fully. Our last lesson with them was probably the best we ever had. Their mom was actively engaged for the first time which was so wonderful. At one point Jumana, the daughter, asked us why she had to pray and ask if these things were true if she already knew. This family has so much faith, but of course we talked about how vital that witness from the Holy Ghost is for their testimony. And at the end of the lesson, instead of arguing over who prayed last and who had to this time, they fought over who got to pray and then who got to pray first when we told them they both could. It just gives me so much joy to be a small part of this family's life and to help them make these change in their lives so they can be even closer to Jesus Christ.
Today, our ward put on a Memorial Day 5K and breakfast (which we got to participate in). It was so much fun, but to prepare for it this week we spent a lot of time visiting members and committing them to invite their friends and neighbors. It surprised me how many people were actually excited for this invitation. I have a very strong testimony of how important this is, because no matter how hard we as missionaries work, the work cannot go forward without the help of the ward and our leaders. I am so grateful for the awesome ward I get to serve in who is so excited to do missionary work and share the gospel in the best way-by This week was great and full of learning like usual!
simply loving those around them.
I mentioned before the commitment President Daines had given me to become equal with my companion in opening my mouth. Well the day before interviews, which is when he would be following up with me, I had a very sudden and emotional realization that I had not made it there. I was a mess. Sister Speakman did not ignore the distance I still had to go, but she gently invited me to think about how far I have come lately. And then she simply asked me what I thought President would say to me the next day when I told him. The first thing that came to mind was the feelings that I have when I repent, when I recognize that I have fallen short despite my efforts and ask for help to be better. I always have feelings of immense love from my Savior because He knows I am trying. And what I felt from President Daines in our interview was a shadow of that. I am so grateful for my ability to keep moving forward, even though sometimes I slip up, because my Savior was able to say "Thy will, O Lord, be done."
Yesterday while preparing for the Sacrament we sang that hymn and the last verse reads,
"We take the bread and cup this day
In mem'ry of the sinless One,
And pray for strength, that we may say,
As he, "Thy will, O Lord, be done."
That line really hit me as we sang that. I am so grateful that because my Savior had the courage to be perfectly obedient, I can rely on Him to have the strength to do so as well. Life may seem hard and we are all far from perfect, but through the Savior, we can keep moving forward.