So guess what? Last night, the architect who directed the work on the Arizona Gilbert Temple came and spoke to one of my wards. Sister Taylor and I brought an investigator and I learned some amazing things by listening to him. He really just told the story of his life and stuff, and then how the temple came to look how it does. It sounds boring, and at first it was. But let me tell you... I learned so much. I could never relate to you all the stories he told us that took place during the construction of that beautiful building. But, I will tell you the three most important things I learned:
1: God doesn't care what your past or background is like. He will call you to do incredible things, whether you feel like you are worthy of that calling or not. Brother Lambright had a "thorny childhood" as he called it. And it was, indeed, very thorny. He really has no formal schooling. No joke. Yet he was still asked to build a temple. He expressed that he often felt so inadequate, and feared that he was not doing the temple the justice it deserved. How often do we feel the same way? But God asked him to build it, so He made it possible.
Which leads me to #2: God build the Arizona Gilbert Temple. Not a man. It was all in God's hands. The miracles Brother Lambright related to us were small, simple and very frequent. Some of the intricate designs carved into the temple walls were initially scribbled on scraps of paper during sacrament meeting. Lesson learned? God built that temple, and He cared about every detail. He cared about what it looked like. He cared about where the stones came from. (Brother Lambright and his wife had to fly to Jerusalem and spend ten days learning about rocks.) He cared about the grounds. He cared about the wood. He cared about everything. He built that temple.
3: If God cares so much about every little detail that goes into the temples construction, how much more He must care about every little detail that goes into our "construction"? After all, we are His children. He wants us to be built strong, beautiful and perfect. (See Matthew) He invests infinite amounts of time to make sure the best quality materials are used. Next time you are going through a hard time, just remember that God is building you. You are His work and His glory, surpassing even that of his beautiful temples. He loves you so much, and His commitment to your character is never-ending.
I've definitely seen that out here. Sometimes I wonder if I'm even out here for other people... it seems like all I'm doing is a lot of learning and growing myself!
Not that we're not making a lot of contact with other people, mind you. ;) Yesterday we taught this lady and her son. They come from China. And her grasp on the concept of God is very childlike. She asked us the most basic questions, but they were the most astounding. There were moments when I didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to answer. All I could tell her was what I know: God is real. He exists. He is our Father. He loves us.
I cannot imagine not knowing that I am a daughter of God. That knowledge is ingrained in my very soul. What if you didn't know that the most all-powerful being in the whole universe knew you by name, and cared about you?
Mind-blowing. Yet to her, she cannot seem to comprehend it. My whole mind and heart is devoted to her lately. I feel this need to help her understand how loved she is. I feel this need to help her feel that God is there. I love her so much... Is this why missionaries become so attached to their investigators? I feel like my heart will burst! :)
Anyway... I hope I make sense. I just write the words that pop into my head, in whatever order they come. :) I do have a good funny story to tell you guys though!
The other night, Sister Taylor and I ran out of water, so we stopped at a members house to refill. She answered the door, we asked for water, she let us in. (This is standard procedure) We chatted as we refilled out water bottles. She seemed slightly uneasy to have us there, but I figured she might be a less-active or something. (I still don't know all the people in these new wards) We usually share a scripture with our members, even if we're just stopping for water, but Sister Taylor quite abruptly said we had to go and rushed us out of there. I was perturbed, but I followed. Once outside, she looked at me with wide eyes and said "I think that was the wrong house." We checked out little ward list and sure enough, the members we though we were visiting were the house next door.
Which means we just walked into a complete strangers house. And chatted like we knew them. And called them by the wrong name. Huh. Embrace the awkward moments! xD
That's mission life for you! I love my area and I love my companion. This morning we got up super early to go set up the reception center that's next to the temple. This involved finding a secret passageway in the church building and having many adventures with our awesome zone. Plus, we went to Kneaders for breakfast afterward. It was so much fun. :)
I love you guys. Thank you for all your letters and emails and prayers and support. They mean so much. Have a great week!
Love, Sister Ball