Barges Driven to the Promised Land

Hello world!!!
During weekly planning, Sister Robinson and I have decided to completely change our finding method to solely working with and through less actives and part member families. It was inspiration from our last MLC where Elder Nielsen from the Seventy shared the story of South Pacific island missions. They were baptizing like crazy but had a lot of less actives so they told the missions to stop baptizing completely and only work with the less actives in improving retention. In doing that, they ended up still baptizing the same amount because they were finding so many prepared people through that. So we have decided to start implementing that.
I’m going to be honest, we were both nervous with that idea. I fasted about it yesterday to know if this was a good idea. My testimony in fasting has definitely strengthened. During studies and church, it just felt like revelation was pouring into my mind and heart. I was reading Ether 6 where it talks about the brother of Jared and his people crossing the waters to the promised land. In verses 2 and 3 it says:
2 For it came to pass after the Lord had prepared the stones which the brother of Jared had carried up into the mount, the brother of Jared came down out of the mount, and he did put forth the stones into the vessels which were prepared, one in each end thereof; and behold, they did give light unto the vessels.
3 And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness.
Sister Robinson and I have prepared the stones by organizing and sorting out the less actives we plan to visit and now we will give it to the Lord and let Him direct our paths. We have already seen miracles from working with less actives!
Saturday was our first day with this approach. We went to find a less active and long story short, she agreed to let us come back on Tuesday to come share the lessons with her again! And not only that, she told us that she would like to have her 11 year old granddaughter, who isn’t a member, to join us in the lesson! WOOHOO! As we were talking to her, I kept praying in my heart to know what commitment we should extend to best help her and her granddaughter. A thought popped into my head to invite her to pray with her granddaughter. She said her granddaughter doesn’t know how to pray, but that it would be good for her so we told her we would teach her on Tuesday! She said she would pray with her granddaughter before then! It was so so exciting and we can’t wait for tomorrow!
On Thursday, we had a super busy day and didn’t have a lot of time to proselyte. By the time we got back to our area, we had about 30 minutes to go finding before our dinner appointment. I kept praying in my heart that God would give us an opportunity to teach. We went tracting and the FIRST door we knocked on was a really nice Armenian man who spoke fluent English (that’s very rare here). We were able to share our testimonies on the gospel blessing families and about prayer. He wasn’t interested in learning more, but I was just super grateful to my Heavenly Father for answering my prayers and that we were able to teach someone that day.
On Wednesday, we went on exchanges! I was with Sister Vaea, who is from Tonga. It was a day full of fall throughs and drops, but we were able to stay positive and happy through it all. I love Sister Vaea. I have also come to the conclusion that I am secretly Tongan. I love the foods they eat (I love all food, but still), like taro and tapioca. And they laugh and dance ALL THE TIME!! She told me that back home, they had church dances at least two times a week. And for missionaries’ homecomings, they have a dance party! It’s great and I am going to Tonga sometime in the future.
Going back to Saturday (sorry, this is so scattered), I went on exchanges with Sister Gong! HER ENGLISH IS GETTING SO GOOD! I took a video of her teaching the Restoration and it just makes me want to cry. She’s grown so much, not just in the language aspect. Sister Plumb is amazing and is an angel and miracle worker. I am so so so proud of them both!
Yesterday was super super bomb. Matthew got confirmed! And the person who did his confirmation is a recent convert who is going through the temple in July! This was his first time confirming someone and he did a great job. It was so wonderful! And then we had the BEST a testimony meeting ever. The first person to go up was Matthew’s main fellowshipper and the person who baptized him. The central part of his testimony was that if you ever feel down or sad or discouraged or that your faith and testimony is not as strong as you want it to be, go out with the missionaries and do missionary work! He said it’s the BEST away to get a jumpstart in your testimony and it is the BEST way to feel the Spirit and be happy. HE IS RIGHT. You can bet how happy Sister Robinson and I were when we heard that.
The second person to go up was one of the returning less actives that we have been working with. She shared that this was her first time bearing her testimony in front of everyone. She said her journey back to being faithful in the church has just been amazing and that she is so happy. After 33 years, she is back and so is her husband. Guys, the gospel is so true. The Lord searches for every single one of His lost sheep. My heart was so happy and I was rejoicing. I love being a missionary!
Super quick, I want to share something else that I learned from Ether 6. This chapter is seriously revelatory. Their travels in the boat is so comparable to life. In verses 5 and 6 it says,
5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.
In order to get to the promised land, there HAD to be winds and waves. There’s no way they could get anywhere if it was smooth sailing with no winds and waves. Likewise is the same with our lives. The promised land is the celestial kingdom where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are. We are the barges and the ocean is life. We HAVE to have trials, challenges, temptations and other opposition in order to get to the promised land. But we can be like the brother of Jared and his people in verse 9 where he thanks God for sending the winds and the waves.
9 And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.
I invite you all to think of one trial you are grateful for! And then in your prayers, tell Heavenly Father that. I know that His goal and purpose for us is to become like Him and the only way we can do that is if we are pushed out of our comfort zone so that we can grow.
I love Heavenly Father and I love His plan. I love the Book of Mormon and I know it’s so true. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I know He died for each one of us. I know His gospel is perfect and true and that it WORKS. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.
Sister Huang

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