Wednesday, November 19, 2014

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

At the beginning of my mission, I realized quickly that I needed to consecrate myself to the Lord. I had to put aside a lot of this that mattered to me, and focus solely on my work as a missionary. When I trained Sister Kohler, I relied so much on the enabling power of the atonement to help me. When I came to Paducah, I had to work to love everything all over again. I was working hard, but maybe not as hard as I once was. Looking back on these past few months, I find that while I've grown in some aspects, I've regressed in others.

I guess the important thing to remember is that this is why Heavenly Father sent His only begotten son. Because he knew no matter how hard we tried, we just weren't going to become everything we needed to be. Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we are given second chances. We are given the strength to keep climbing, no matter how hard we backslide. 

I guess it's very similar to an experience we had with an investigator just this week. Her work of 22 years had closed down because her boss had passed away. We found her resorting back to the cigarettes she had quit, and depressed. We shared with her how she could use the enabling power of the atonement in her life. "I'll get back up" she told us. And somehow, I knew she would.

I've rededicated myself to this work. As I knelt in prayer at the beginning of this week, stressing about a zone meeting training I would have to give, Heavenly Father reminded me of a promise in my patriarchal blessing. It essentially tells me if I prepare well, that my training will go well... But that doesn't mean just physically prepared. That means spiritually prepared. I immediately changed the way I was going about planning for this. Instead of worrying about what I'd say, I worried about how worthy I was to say it. So after that zone meeting, the missionaries told us it was the most spiritual one they had ever been to. I know it wasn't my training that did that, but I do know my consecration along with every single one of those Elders and Sisters is what allowed us to be taught from on high.

I had a really cool experience on Facebook the other day! It went like this:
Investigator: "When I prayed about it, I instantly realized you two were sent to me so full of his spirit that it could only come from HIM ! Something so beautiful inside and out could only come from one place. I actually feel the spirit when I'm with you two. I feel the truth . You are good and what you represent is good. I should have said I instantly knew without a doubt."

Me:" Well then I guess that leaves for one thing, right? If what we are telling you is from God, then that means that Christ's church has been restored. It means that you have the opportunity to accept that truth and come even closer to your Savior through baptism by his power- found in his church. So [investigator] , will you follow the example of Jesus Christ, and be baptized by someone who holds the priesthood authority?"


I had two different exchanges this week. One with Sister Gillespie in Fulton and one with the Spanish Sisters (hermanas). With Sister Gillespie we met a ton of YSA aged kids and had lots of fun new adventures. We also both like to workout, so we pushed ourselves super hard that morning and boy... I've been feeling it. hahaha. 
With the Hermanas we got to do lots of tracting and look for Hispanics. It was a blast :). I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to help other sisters. Also to learn from THEM! They make me want to be better every day :)

Anyway, this week was the usual. We are teaching tons of awesome families. We have Takisha, Timiah, Jermisha, Yolanda, Aneeka, Juanya, Qutona, Deray, Dontae, Jacoyce, Rosean, Waniesha..... hahaha. Mostly I just wanted to say all those names ;) 

So we are having this ongoing battle with the Elders right now. We were pulling into the church parking lot after having gone out with a member. Sister Cotton saw Elder Motes standing behind our parked car, looking as guilty as ever. She pointed at him so he couldn't go anywhere. He slowly went over to his car and got in the drivers seat. She marched over to the back of the car and saw "#poligamy" written in the dust.... It wasn't even spelled right. We had a good laugh over it. The next day we saw that they got us again, but this time they wrote "I love the Book of Norman". Then later in the week we saw their car parked at one of their investigators homes so we ran over and put a sticky note on their car with a silly note. I guess you wouldn't expect missionaries to joke around too much. But it makes for a good chuckle when things get rough. We also love to jump out and scare the hermanas. Since they have a key to our apartment the hermanas will come in sometimes and tip everything in our dining room upside down. haha :)

Sometimes it's hard to always keep a smile though. We were having a lesson the other night and honestly, I was struggling to stay awake. I knew I wasn't being an effective missionary, so I worked to use the atonement to help me work.  I felt all of this energy and I was SO engaged in teaching this lady. Because I took to caring, the spirit filled my mouth with the exact words she needed to hear. She told us the next day we were exactly the "kick in the pants from God" that she had been needing. That is probably a prime example of how the Savior has a hand in our lives. It's also a great metaphor for what has been happening to me lately. 

Mosiah 4:27 says “It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize.” In response to this Joseph B Wirthlin said: " We don’t have to be fast; we simply have to be steady and move in the right direction. We have to do the best we can, one step after another."

How many of us look back at what we used to be able to do, and feel bad about ourselves because we aren't there anymore? Did it just change over night? No, it probably didn't. Good things sneak out and bad things sneak in one day at a time. With every thought, word, and deed we are either progressing or regressing. There is no such thing as being stagnant. The good news is that if you take the time to stop and evaluate yourself, Heavenly Father will help you see where you may have slacked, and he will give you the strength to stand back up and keeping moving forward. Nobody ever got to the top of the mountain without having to climb uphill. It is the same with us. 

I am fortunate enough to stay in Paducah for the Holidays officially. I am looking forward to spending this transfer consecrating myself to the Lord and never stopping my spiritual progression. It is my prayer that we may all do the same. 

Sister Hochstrasser
P.S My current address is 
Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
447 Hutchinson Ave 
Paducah, Kentucky 42003. 
So you can send mail to that address, or to the mission address you currently have.

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