Monday, February 9, 2015

Faith Without Fear

This week I was re-awakened to a greater understanding of the light of Christ within myself.

I learned very clearly that despite my best efforts, I cannot change my nature if I'm doing it out of duty rather than love.

There was a point this week where a missionary felt inclined to tell me that much of the way I was serving my mission wasn't what it ought to be, and to then expound on a few things he felt I should be doing differently. It was really hard to take, and I felt my face going red. As my companion and I talked afterwards about the situation, I felt Heavenly Father working to humble me. Rather than putting up hard feelings towards the missionary, I decided to learn from the experience so that I can use it to become a better leader. I did my best to recognize that I definitely have a long ways to go, and to hope that this missionary was also able to turn what happened into a growing experience for himself as well.

When people put you down, it's easy to want to harden your heart and stubbornly continue pushing against reason. When others lift you up, it's easy to soften and allow yourself to be molded. Imagine how powerful it would be if instead of relying on the messages the world sends, if you only focused on the ones from God? If love is what changes, how much quicker would we become like Him if we didn't have to wait on the praise of the world- but instead felt the constant stream of approval from him?

So then the question is, how do we feel Gods love?

From my experience, it comes when you love others. It comes when you can confidentially say you are doing the will of the father.

This week we taught the restoration to a girl named Alley. Her mom is less active, and Alley had heard a lot of Anti from school. As we taught, I could see her be filled with Heavenly Fathers love. I was so happy in that moment, and we with the help of the spirit we were able to help Alley become committed to baptism on the 8th.

These things will not only fill you with love, but they will fill you with faith.

I cannot even tell you how many people are close to baptism! We have taught so many lessons this week and in return Heavenly Father has given us so many progressing investigators! Want to hear a cool miracle? On exchanges in Fulton one week sister Murry who lives down there gave me her daughter as a referral. I tried contacting her but found out she doesn't live in Paducah like we thought. Sister Murry brought her to the Saturday woman's conference where we met and taught her. That night they studied about the church for two hours. Then went to church on Sunday. Then to a Monday night church group, and now she is taking the lessons from us! We taught the restoration, and she is totally going to get baptized! The crazy part is that when I first met her she said she didn't have time for a verse of scripture. Now she's on this religious kick and it's awesome! 

Sister Curtis is much like my trainee Sister Kohler in that she genuinely loves me and adores everything I do. I know I'm not perfect, but knowing that Sister Curtis believes in me helps me in so many ways believe in myself. This transfer I've changed more than I have in my past 3, all because my motivation has become love. It's a love for these people, a love for Sister Curtis, a love for the ward, a love for myself, and a love for God.

Faith is a principle of power, causing miracles that could not otherwise be done on their own. So if I want to be able to see miracles I need to have faith. If I want faith, I need love. Love is the basis of heaven, the root of all things.

In Nashville I'm going to be serving with my MTC companion Sister Oldroyd, it will be so crazy to see the difference in our companionship after a year of being refined :). I'm excited to learn from her and to meet new people.

Of course, leaving Paducah is hard. Lots of tears and goodbyes from members and investigators alike. Paducah has been home for half a year now, and I love it lots.

Saying goodbye to everyone in Paducah

On a less sentimental note, I washed the car manually for the first time at one of those manual places. Sister Curtis felt so good about having the car finally cleaned, she associated our miracles to it! So she really demonstrated some Christlike love when I accidentally parked us in deep mud just an hour later... hahaha.
I was asked to give a talk at my friend Ernest's baptism on Saturday. Praying for guidance, Heavenly Father blessed me to feel a greater understanding of his love for Ernest. I wasn't too sure what to say, but I know that because I had faith motivated by Gods love for Ernest, it worked out. Our mission president and his wife came to the baptism. While there they spilled the beans that my transfer predictions were right. On Tuesday, I'm going to be sent to be a sister training leader in Nashville, TN. The heart of the mission! I'm nervous, but I can look back and see how God has been preparing me and it's comforting to know he's with me. Faith and fear are located on opposite sides of your brain, you cannot have them both at the same time. So I choose to have faith in this calling because I love God and I love my mission. I think duty is stemmed much from fear anyway. Which is why you either serve out of duty or love. Faith or fear. It's a principle that can be applied to our callings, our parenting, our marriages, our jobs, and our lives.
Speaking of deep mud, we went to go see a potential one night and her mom asked us about polygamy and we explained it. She didn't believe us. We showed her in the scriptures and she said she still didn't trust us. She took our Book of Mormon and wanted to see if it matched up to the bible. She looked closely at all the prophets names and somehow In  her head they matched the bibles so she could trust it. She then told us her grandson was possessed, and asked us to pray over him. We just said a simple opening prayer. She told us it wasn't good enough. Then she started questioning if we were actually licensed to pray.... She was crazy. Her daughter was much sweeter, sister Curtis taught her while I played with the 2 kids. The little boy was actually really sweet. The little girl was weirdly coddled by her grandma to protect her from the "demonic" grandson. Good grief. Lol. We had fun though and he didn't want me to leave by the end of our little games. I told him if he didn't let us go, we couldn't come back! So he reluctantly opened the door haha. 

Alright, well I'd better go and pack for heading off to the big city. It's a little scary, but I'm going to go into this with Faith not Fear, being motivated by the love of God and the light of Christ within me :). 
Make it a great week! And don't forget to to go out with the missionaries! 
-Sister Hochstrasser

Cool car, cool message ;) our investigators here are awesome!  

Write to me!

Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission
BRENTWOOD, TN 37027                   or  :)

No comments:

Post a Comment