Monday, January 13, 2014

4th Transfer..................3rd Area

Transfers are tomorrow and............................................
I FINALLY GET TO STAY IN AN AREA FOR MORE THAN 6 WEEKS! Sister Casper is leaving me though :( She's going to my first area in San Luis Obispo. Crazy stuff. I can't believe it's already been another 6 weeks.
This week was a lot better. I've really been learning a lot and my confidence as a missionary has really increased as well. The highlight was our investigator, Sharron, coming to church! It was incredible. She really felt the Spirit and afterwards received a Priesthood blessing. All I can say is it was all a miracle.

I wanted to focus on a story I studied in the Book of Mormon yesterday, Ether 6. This is when the Brother of Jared and his family get into the 8 dish-like barges he built to cross the sea to the promised land. It says everything so matter-of-factly, but if you really think about what was going on, it must have been terrifying.
"they prepared... and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God."
His family somehow divided themselves up and got into these 8 barges, trusting the Lord that they would make it to the promised land and see eachother again. It doesn't give any indication that they could steer or anything. They literally commended themselves to God.
"And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, toward the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind."
God provided the wind, always pushing them toward the promised land. It doesn't say that He gracefully did so, they were tossed to and fro, but always in the direction of the promised land.
"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."
"...when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters."
There were times when they were pushed to their limits. They had to cry to God in prayer, and He delivered them each time.
"And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind"
Despite all the obstacles faced; the storms, rough seas, tempests, the wind was ALWAYS pushing them in the right direction, toward their desired destination.
"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."
No matter what obstacles they faced, they always praised the Lord, trusting Him and remembering how great and merciful He is always, even in the midst of their trials. Good times or bad, they always praised the Lord.
"And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water."
Through God, they could overcome everything. This wasn't a short journey:
"And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water."
Did you get that? 344 DAYS! Almost a full year? Do you think that was easy? No way. And yet they didn't lose faith that the Lord would fulfill His promise. And you know what?:
"And they did land upon the shore of the promised land..."
Powerful. This really hit me this week as the past few weeks I've really been thinking about the purpose of this life. When we chose to come to this earth, we were commending ourselves to Heavenly Father. We knew that it would be hard, but we knew it was necessary. We also knew that returning to our Heavenly Father and overcoming all of our trials would be possible through Jesus Christ. Now we are here, on our own sea for however long Heavenly Father decides. We will be tossed from place to place, but Heavenly Father is always leading us through our trials and experiences back to our desired destination: back home with Him and Jesus Christ. No matter where we are in life, He is giving us the experiences that we need to become the people we need to be to return to live with Him. Sometimes it's hard, but we need to trust His will for us, that He is leading us to what is best for us, and always praise and speak with Him. If we do these things, He will lead us back to Him, and that is worth every sacrifice.

I love you all. Thank you for all the prayers.

Sister Shipp

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