Monday, March 9, 2015

Looking Beyond Yourself


The first part of this week I was able to go work in the Spanish area with Hermana Kilgore! She taught me how to say "Can I use your bathroom?" which I got to practice on real life hispanics! lol. It was so fun working with her. We had a lesson with a lady named Maria (go figure) which started off a little rocky. Hermana Kilgore hasn't been on a mission for very long so her Spanish without the help of a companion was struggling. In the middle of the lesson I interrupted her and asked if she could interpret a few things for me. She was shocked, and I kind of was too because I wasn't sure what to say... haha. They had been reading about the tree of life in fist "Nephee" earlier, and were now studying a talk. Drawing the focus back to the Book of Mormon and the tree of life, I pointed out to Maria the verse they hadn't read- the one about Lehi wanting his family to have the fruit. I bore testimony to Maria that if she would try out the gospel, her family would be blessed. I told her how I had left my family for a year and a half so that she could be with hers forever. As I spoke, Hermana Kilgore translated. Perfectly. At the end of my speaking, Hermana Kilgore finished out the lesson in fluent Spanish, baring her own testimony of those divine truths.  Maria agreed to come to church, thanking us profusely for coming to teach her. 

The gift of tongues is real, and so is the power of testimony.  
Paducah Sisters trapped with us for a few days in the snow
That night we were teaching a less active family. The mom handed us a clumpy looking drink. I thought it was milk maybe, but then she showed us the ingredients. Mashed up oats, and water. As I drank my cold oatmeal water, I had to hurry and warn Hermana Kilgore to swirl hers around or all the oatmeal clumps would gather at the bottom. It was too late. We weren't sure what to do... then they brought out some crackers and we were able to use them to scoop out the rest of the oat mush and get it down without much complication. Miracles. ;(

We switched back companions at district meeting which by the way was a FIESTA! We had the assistants to the president, zone leaders, hermanas, spanish elders, sister training leaders, and district leader there. Not one regular English speaking missionary companionship in sight LOL. We went out and got Papusas afterwards at the local Mexican restaurant, a long with some other sisters in our zone. Hermana Kilgore is the one with long blonde hair (2nd from the right at the Mexican restaurant).

Because of all of the snow and ice, the mission leadership counsel got canceled. But unfortunately, the Paducah missionaries never got the message so the Paducah Sisters ended up staying with us for a few days while they waited for the roads to clear! hahaha

So, everyone here is freaking out about this "snow cream" stuff. And let me tell you, it's amazing! It's snow, vanilla, and sweet and condensed milk. I went to Panera this week with Sister Oldroyd:
*eating silently* "You know, normally I'd ask someone how their day was for conversation, but I already know how your day was...." hahaha the struggles of living with someone 24/7 ;) 
Okay so remember how during that last ice storm I got to spend hours on end studying the atonement? Well, a big part of that study focused on trials without me meaning to. I figured it was God warning me that something big was coming my way. I ended up being right. 

 Remember Jeff? We called him the other day and he very angrily told us to never call him again. He called the other members he had been working with and told them the same thing. It was completely out of the blue. Sister Oldroyd and I couldn't talk or really do anything for awhile, we were so shocked. When we went to the store later that day, some lady came up while my companion was walking towards the car and tried to tell me I worshiped idols and proceed to be rather rude and in my face... then, all of our plans sort of fell through and nobody really wanted to hear our message. It was the hardest day I can recall having so far. I literally did not want to be there anymore. I feel like my rose colored lenses fell off and now I'm just looking at this area where we have hardly anyone to teach and we are just running in circles with extremely low lesson numbers. I felt really sorry for myself, being in a place where the miracle of the day is the couple who actually listened to you, but wasn't interested. Sister Oldroyd and I prayed together. As we did, we poured out our hearts in gratitude for the opportunity to walk so close to the Savior who had already done all of this (and much more) utterly alone. It was comforting, and I knew that the only way I was going to get through this was if I relied on the Atonement. 

That night we went to a members house for dinner. I went to the bathroom and said a prayer. Heavenly Father told me to stop worrying about it right now and go strengthen the members I was with. As I did, I began to feel a little better. 

The next day, Sunday, we decided to fast. I fasted for the area. I fasted for Jeff. I fasted for divine help. 

The sacrament meeting talk was by Sister Dixon (wife of the efy music producer). She spoke on charity. In fact, all of the talks were on charity. I could tell that this was my answer. In a loving way Heavenly Father was reminding me to push outside myself and focus on others. Sister Dixon read to us from Moroni 7 about charity, and all the things Moroni lists that charity isn't. She told us to instead take that verse and look at all the things charity IS. Even though I was fasting, I felt filled. Here I am looking at all of the things my area is lacking and all of the things I don't have, instead of having charity and looking for all the good things there are here and trying to see beyond myself. 
I'm in no way perfect at it, but knowing that this was revelation from Heavenly Father specifically to me has given me a much bigger push to keep going and keep trusting. 

This is an example of the places we tract. 
Last night:
"Hi we are missionaries...."
"I'm sorry I don't mean to be rude but it is SEVEN THIRTY ON A SUNDAY AND IT'S DARK!"
*closes door*
*Me, grabbing Sister Oldroyd's arm:* "I am SO glad she said that, for some reason I thought it was two o' clock on Wednesday!" We laughed and laughed and tried to end the day as light hearted as possible. One of my favorite quotes of the week was from the lesson we had with TJ. I'm not going to even bother giving you background information. It's pretty self explanatory: "No! We aren't going to just astroproject our bodies into inanimate objects!" hahaha

In closing, I love my job. It's hard, but who said it was going to be easy? Last night we asked an investigator what it would mean to them to know there was a God. He described a much happier way of living to us, and then proceeded to ask us what it would mean to us to find out that there wasn't, and what that would change about our lives. . 

To that I said,
Well, I don't do drugs, but I imagine my life without a God would be much like the difference between the high that comes from drugs and the high that comes from life- such as when your first child is born. Yes, both experiences bring what we might call "happiness" in some form, but one is merely a temporary pleasure. The other is much more deeply rooted, it is joy, and will continue on for many years to come. The latter is the feeling that the gospel brings to me. Everything I do is for a greater purpose. A life with God causes you to do things that will not only bring happiness now, but forever after. The results continue to build with time, and bring a peace that there never will be any need to fear. I suppose in the christian world we would call it "blessed".  Without this understanding, I suppose all I could do is spend the rest of my days seeking after the things that will bring me that momentary pleasure I spoke off first. As the effects of those choices came back I would find myself sinking, and would try to mask the feeling with more instant gratification. I would be miserable, and have no reason or rhyme for my own existence. I would feel trapped. 

I testify to all of you that there is a God, and there is a way for lasting happiness, and that is through Jesus Christ. 

Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser 
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 West Park Dr Ste 190
Brentwood, TN 37027                              or

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