Monday, August 10, 2015

The Good Experiences Always Out Power the Challenges Even if They Don't Outnumber Them

Hi guys! I can't believe this is probably the last email I will write as a full time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My heart is being torn in so many different directions at the thought of my full time missionary service coming to an end.

We had a more challenging week this last week and it's funny how grateful I have become for weeks like that throughout my mission. Many of our scheduled appointments fell through and we also invested a large portion of our time tracting trying to find people to teach which makes any day go by at the pace of an aging snail. Throughout the week though I was reminded of a quote President Daines once said. He said "the good experiences will not always outnumber the challenging days or the hard experiences but they will always out power them."  

This morning as I read in the beginning of the Book Of Mormon I felt such an immense gratitude  for the strong and courageous Nephi. At the beginning of the Book Of Mormon we find that Nephi and his family are faced with many trials and hardships. They are commanded to leave Jerusalem. They leave all their precious things behind and flee with nothing but faith to guide them. Later Nephi is commanded to go back and get the plates from the wicked king Laban. After two failed attempts and a long journey that he walked with two complaining brothers just to get to Laban, instead of weakening his faith Nephi with the help of the Spirit decides to put forth his best effort and try again. Finally after the third attempt and with the Power of the Lord Nephi is able to get the plates to return to his father. One might think Hurray! Now he can rest! We know this is not the case. Later during this family's journey they find themselves somewhat helpless and starving. Nephi breaks his bow and the family wonders how they will now get food. Because of the Spirit Nephi was patient in his afflictions and trusted that the Lord would deliver him, and that He did. For 8 years Nephi and his family traveled in the wilderness eating raw meat, children were born that he tended to and cared for. It was by no means an easy journey. Finally they reach the land Bountiful that is beautiful and full of fruit yet their faith is still tried as the Lord commands Nephi to build ship so that the family can sail to the promised land because they still had not reached their destination. Nephi doesn't question the Lord but immediately asks the Lord where he can go to get the materials to make the ship. Once the ship is made and they are sailing across the sea Nephi's brothers become angry with him because of his desire to be obedient to the Lord's commandments. Nephi is tied up by his very own brothers to the ship for three days. When finally released, swollen, exhausted, and injured the beloved Nephi praises the Lord and says, "Nevertheless I did look unto my God and I did praise Him all the day long and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions." What an incredible example Nephi is to all of us. He had every reason to blame and complain, yet he stood strong in the face of adversity even if that meant at times he had to stand alone. He saw the Lord's hand and praised the Lord even and especially during times of difficulty.  

As I thought about Nephi's examples I was reminded of the Savior who was so quick to be grateful in His circumstances regardless of what was going on around Him. He was one who always returned thanks to His Father.

This last week, challenging as it may have been, I have had many opportunities to praise and thank my Heavenly Father. I praised Him when we were able to see Elfreda looking so beautiful as she entered the church building. I praised Him that although many of our plans fell through we were able to seek inspiration and direction and know where the Lord needed us. I praised Him on Sunday when I felt weak and exhausted for the strength He gave me to fast. I praised Him for the many opportunities my testimony had to be strengthened through opposition. I praised Him and will forever praise Him for the sacrifice of His only begotten Son and that because of our Savior's sacrifice we never need to walk alone. Much like Nephi and many other examples in the scriptures they had, and we have a loving Heavenly Father who hears us, a Savior who has endured anything  and everything that we will ever endure, and the precious gift of the Holy Ghost which as promised will direct us where we need to be. 

I cannot fully express to you guys how much I love serving the Lord. He is my loving Savior, my caring Brother, and my tender friend. He lives.

I hope you guys know how precious you are to Him and how much you mean to me. I sure love you will all my heart. This is His work. How grateful I am that He lets us be a part of it.

Love, Sister Mathis

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