Monday, January 26, 2015

Forging New Friendships

Hey, time for some mid-transfer news! :D
I've been here for about three weeks now, and I'm starting to feel like I know more people. We're working with a small teaching pool, and most of our efforts are devoted to finding new investigators. Sister Huefner is just the greatest, and I love being her companion. I'm learning a lot from her. She is super good at working with the members. We, or, well, mostly she, knows a lot of the non-members around here just from being friendly and talking to everyone. We get referrals from our members on a regular basis. Some people let us in, some don't. It's all okay. :) We're always busy and we're seeing lots of little miracles along the way.

I like this kind of work - the kind where we just talk to everyone. I like getting to know people. In the beginning of my mission, talking to people scared me so much. It still does, to an extent, but Sister Huefner has been such an example to me. She's shown me, just by the way she is, that it's so easy to make friends and strike up conversations that lead to the gospel. Even after she goes home at the end of this six weeks, there are some of her skills that I hope I will still carry with me. :)
This area has also brought to me my first opportunity to work with addiction recovery. In helping some of our less actives quit smoking, I'm learning about repentance in a new way. I'm learning that the principles of addiction recovery can apply to every person on this earth because they are the principles of how to use the Atonement in ones life. Repenting is so much more than erasing sins or wrongs, though it certainly does that. It is the way we come unto Christ, the way we bring His light into our life. It is us, changing in small ways to become better and happier. It is how we heal. Repentance has come to mean so much to me.
I've never liked to do something that I felt I wasn't good at. That was the reason behind me quitting piano, or never learning to dance. It didn't come easily and my slow progress always discouraged me. To avoid those feelings, I just stopped trying.

I often feel like I'm not good at this whole missionary thing and that is unbearably frustrating to me. But the thing is I cannot quit this time. I mean, I could, but I really don't want to. So I'm still here, and still trying even though it's not easy, and I may never excel. And this has brought me to start learning things I've never learned before. I'm learning about repentance. I'm learning about the Atonement. My progress is slow and sometimes it feels like my friends are few. But I have the one friend who counts, and that is my Savior Jesus Christ. Two people can do anything, as long as one of those people is the Lord. :) How wonderful that He promises to help each one of us.
Anyway. Other random tidbits: Citrus is in season here. I eat oranges to the filling of my hearts desire. :) Also grapefruit. And I tried a pomelo for the first time yesterday. Spoiler alert: It tastes like a grapefruit. Though apparently they aren't even in the same family. -.-
Sunsets here are incredible. Yesterday there was pink on every side, 360 degrees around. And with the palm trees silhouetted against it, it often feels like I am in paradise.
I gave a talk in church last Sunday. My first talk as a missionary! It probably wasn't a complete disaster, to be reasonable, but it sure felt like it ha ha. About midway through I was like "Oh forget it. I'm done speaking." So I grabbed a nearby hymnbook, sang "Brightly Beams our Fathers Mercy", bore my testimony and sat down. I felt much better doing that then speaking. I might do it every time! Be prepared for my homecoming talk. ;) In some ways, I feel like I've gotten more bold. Ot just cared less what people think. Or I just have a bit more of an attitude. Not sure which, exactly. Probably all of the above ha ha.
Sister Huefner plays the ukelele. Sometimes we just sing primary songs to the playing of her ukelele before bed. It's a delightful end to our long days. :)
So. That's it for today. Tune in next week for more of these messages. I love you all... I truly do. :)
Sincerely, Sister Bethany Ball

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