Sister Melling and I have much opportunity and reason to discuss going home, since she leaves the mission in like, 10 days. We took her bike apartand packed it up. (We had help from our ward mission leader. We also learned that the left pedal is counter-threaded - which means that no matter how hard you try to loosen it the normal way, it will never come off. :) She's packing up all her belongings. Starting today, every day will be her last day of the week as a missionary. These things lead us to discuss going home ha ha.
We've decided that people are wrong when they say your mission changes you, because it doesn't. The choices that you make while you are on your mission is what changes you. Maybe one of the biggest things I've learned out here is just how much I am in control of my fate. I choose what I become. I create myself. :) Which means that when we go home - because we eventually do - the changing doesn't stop. We still have our ability to choose, and the choices we make at home change us as much as the choices we make out here do. :) (For that matter, the changing didn't begin when we became missionaries either.)
So with my last 11 months, I'm going to take advantage of my environment and make the best choices I can. I created a vision for myself of what changes I want to see and I'm setting goals and making plans to achieve that vision. Somehow, that is trickier than it actually sounds. There's a lot of learning curves involved. But I'm stumbling along the best I know how. :)
Speaking of stumbling along... After Kevin's baptism, Sister Melling and I were faced with the sad reality that we now have no progressing investigators. As much as I tried not to let that bother me, I found myself getting discouraged as the week went on and we had very little to report for our efforts. I started to question myself - is this my fault? Do we have no work because I'm not a good enough missionary? Because I'm not bold enough, loving enough, motivated enough... suffice it to say I struggle with a lot. :) And those thoughts plagued me all week.
But, the good news is that we have a member who's dating a non-member, and she arranged for them and us to have dinner together. This is what we call a golden opportunity. :) We determined to do everything we could to qualify for the Spirit so that we'd be able to know how to best proceed with him. So we went tracting right before dinner. I do not like tracting, and I didn't want to do it. But I know that nothing brings the power of a missionary's calling out faster than an opportunity to testify - so we went and knocked on doors and testified our little hearts out!
They weren't interested, but that is beside the point. The point is that we did it. And then we went to dinner. And Mike, out potential investigator, unloaded about 20 billion questions on us. And we ended up teaching the Restoration to him. And he loved it. And he agreed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. In short, he's pretty much golden and ready to hear the gospel. :)
Teaching missionaries are happy missionaries. It's amazing how much that one experience rejuvenated and encouraged me to keep going. Yes, I still have a lot to work on, but I'm trying not to get down on myself. Sister Melling has a quote on her wall that says "God only asks for your best, and your best is different each day." This is true. I can honestly say that I'm giving this my best effort, and it may not be the same as someone else's best - but God doesn't want someone else's best. He knows me and my circumstances, and He doesn't judge the outward results, only my heart. He knows when I'm weak. He knows when I'm strong.
There is just so much comfort in having a God that loves so perfectly. <3
Well, until net week. I love you all so very very much. :)
Cheerfully, Sister Ball
P.S. I turn 22 next week. Weird!