Its going to be a miracle if the Traverse City area hangs on (and it will. The Lord wouldn't let it turn out otherwise) because we are never here. I have been away from Elder Coziar everyday but Saturday, and this week we will be out of Traverse City until Friday, because we are blitzing the Cheboygan and Sault Ste. Marie areas. It should be a lot of fun. Most of my time is spent with new missionaries, which makes me really hope I train again.
I spent Tuesday in Gaylord, and Wednesday and Thursday in Manistee, which are about a half a state apart haha. Manistee is heaven. Sometimes I feel like I am on vacation rather than doing missionary work, because of the views I get when I am personal contacting. We are having great fun in all we do, which is how missionary work ought to be.
The lesson I learned this week came from my Trade offs with the Assistants. I made a very big mistake. On Tuesday, while I was on trade offs, they had a very bad lesson with Jennifer. They tried teaching as best they could, but things got a little pushy about baptism and she felt ambushed. She was very upset with us over the next few days, and on Friday I saw her on Trade offs and tried to do some damage control, and I totally through Elder Coziar and the missionary who was here under the bus, and made them sound like they were young and inexperience, and didn't know what they were doing, which is very untrue.
The lesson ended up going very well, and even though trials continue to pour out over Jennifer, she is doing very well. Turns out, that lesson was for the best. Over the last few days, she keeps hearing songs about water, and she wrote to us, ¨Tuesday had to happen because I never would even be entertaining baptism when I hear these songs, but I am. Thank you for pushing me out of my comfortable little box and showing me that it is safe to have disagreements. As difficult as Tuesday was for the both of us, it was actually perfect! I apologize if I treated you poorly or said anything mean to you. Sometimes when we are breaking down a wall we get caught in the falling pieces but in the end, the view is well worth the turmoil.¨ Such a miracle.
That being said, I was very sorely, but lovingly chastised afterwards by the AP for what I did. I must say that the guilty taketh the truth to be hard. His words cut me to the center. My first inclination was to make an excuse or apologize so profusely that I would make my myself look like a victim, but instead a voice kept saying, ¨Be still and listen. This is for your good.¨ After the event, I started to feel angry with myself that I could let my self make such a mistake. ¨You have been out 19 months. You know better. You are immature and unfit. How could you do something like this.¨ Even these thoughts however were short and were pushed aside. Even though that experience hurt me, what hurt more was that I failed the other missionaries involved. I immediately made restitution with both missionaries and with Jennifer, and all worked out for the best. The purpose of the chastisement is to build us up, not break us down. Had he not brought this up, I would have a major flaw in my character left unchecked. The pruning we undergo is worth the pain when we realize the fruit that comes as a result. By the end of the night, all I could think of was, ¨Thank you Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down." Chastening is essential to exaltation, and I am thankful God that God has chastened me enough to learn this.
The work rolls on. We should have a baptism in 2 weeks and we are way excited!! Loving my mission. I hope I can give more with each day.
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