Transfers were this week and my new companion is Sister Steenhoek from Mesa, Arizona! She is the sweetest, cutest lil’ dutch girl, you’d ever see. We had an amazing week with a lot of miracles and meetings!
I was asked to talk about the Atonement and the urgency of sharing the gospel in one of the meetings this week, and I learned a whole lot. One thing that kept pressing on my heart when preparing this, was that the Atonement is love. It is the greatest act of love. It was done out of genuine love. And it is how we know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us and want us to return to live with them. President Gordon B Hinckley said, “Love is the only force that can erase the differences between people or bridge the chasms of bitterness.” We are all so different! I am just confounded at how there are so many people on this planet and no one is the same. But something that we all have in common is our desire to be loved. We all want to fall in love. We all want to feel loved. Love is our common ground. And I love that the greatest act of love is our common ground as well. The Atonement is accessible to all, no matter the color, race, gender, etc.
Before my mission the Atonement was a magical force that I thought I understood. I was wrong. I had felt God’s love and seen His hand. I had felt the Atonement, but not in the way that I had seen it affect others here on my mission. I have seen so many that I have taught be affected by the Atonement, in a way that is magical. I felt that it was as if a mystical fog entered their home every night while they were sleeping and healed their heart. Some particular investigators were changing to be better every meeting that we had. I wanted the Atonement to have that kind of impact on me, but I didn’t know how to access it. I had prayed and prayed but never found that the Atonement was lifting me like I had seen it lift others. I wanted that mystical fog to enter my apartment and heal my heart. One day I was reading the scriptures and I came across the scripture Jacob 3:1 that says, “Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause,…” I realized that what I was lacking for the past while, was faith. I believed and prayed that others would have this type of experience and testimony but for some reason I didn’t believe, or have the faith, that it could heal and change me. One night I decided to spiritual create the experience I wanted. I thought about what it would feel like to have the Atonement lift and change me. I thought about Christ performing the Atonement. I thought about what He would do and say to me if He was in the room with me. Then I prayed, believing that I would feel it and understand it on a more intimate level. IT WORKED. I can’t explain the feeling that I felt or the peace that overtook my mind and heart. I felt silly for waiting so long and for being so stubborn to have that experience. That experience has been carrying me for the last month, and I know that it will carry me and impact my life forever.
I guess the point of this rant/story, is that love carries people. The Atonement can and will carry you.
So many wonderful things happened this week. We worked so hard and got more investigators and lessons than this area has had in a long while. I am exhausted! haha.
We were contacting an investigator and she wasn’t home. I saw this cute little hipster girl walking on the side of the road, jamming to her music by bobbing her short black hair with blueish silver streaks in it. We waved while getting in the car and she waved back. I thought, “Man. She seems cool. I want to talk to her.” But the time passed and she was walking and we were in a car and it would just be awkward. Imagine two random people rolling down there window going, “HEY! We are missionaries…. blah blah blah.” to you. We were pulling out of the investigators driveway and I just kept getting the feeling, “You need to talk to her.” So I was then talking back to this feeling and saying, “How in the heck and I supposed to talk to her?” Anyway. She was walking in the direction of the library. I told my companion we needed to talk to her and that maybe, just maybe, she was walking to the library. So we drove a few blocks away to the library and parked outside. I just kept praying in my heart that she would walk to the library and that we could talk to her. We waiting a couple of minutes, and guess what? She was walking to the library! So, like the stalkers missionaries that we are, we got out of our car and tried timing it so we would ‘casually’ run into her. Well we timed it wrong and we ended walking behind her and she couldn’t hear us trying to talk to her because she was jamming to her music. Well we followed her in and she sat down at a table in the library. At this point the spirit had confirmed more than a few times that we had to talk to her. So we go up to her and I ask, “What are you jamming to? It looks like it is probably a really good song.” Hah! I am awkward, but what’re ya gonna do? It ended up being really great and she was super sweet and open to us and we taught about the Book of Mormon and she was excited about reading it.
The spirit is great. The Atonement is real. The Gospel is good. I love you all so much! I hope you have a stellar week! I’ll get a picture of Sister Steenhoek and I this week hopefully 🙂
But for now,
-We played corn hole at the Bentley’s last Monday and the Bentley’s daughter, Davi, made us all bracelets. L to R. Sister Ostermiller, Me, Elder Mauldin, Elder Christianson, Elder McNeil, Elder Brown
-This is Erksin and Nikki’s 1-year-old son E.J. (Erskin Junior) He literally comes up to me, climbs onto me and sits on my lap. There is no saying no to that cutie.