Monday, August 22, 2016

This Gospel is a JOY!

The real face of Missionary work (expectation vs reality)

Dear family and friends, 

      Another week has passed us by here in England. The amount of sunshine that we have had recently has been absolutely magnificent! I haven't worn my wellies in quite some time and my tan is looking mighty fine! Blessings from on high! We had a good week full of finding, lots and LOTS of finding! It was great! With our lack of investigators, we knew that this whole week was going to be dedicated to finding which wasn't the most exciting thought. BUT, it went great! And if the only thing that Sister Swasey and I were supposed to get out of this week was a love for tracting, then we have achieved it! We didn't meet any crazy people or get screamed, I'd say we were pretty successful! :)
A spectacular American package found its way to our door this week! Thank you Deb! The Alfredo sauce has brought much joy to these American girls!

Old English house.
      We biked SO much this week and definitely felt it this morning. I know that Heavenly Father is providing strength sufficient enough for us to do his work, cause dang. We need it! If you would've told me before my mission that I would be biking this much, I would have laughed. But, the Lord does provide! Doctrine & Covenants 84:88 says, “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” I know that there are angles roundabout us to bear us up in our times of need! For without those angels, I would not be able to do this work.
These fields remind me so much home. (Idahome)

      I want to relate an experience I had in Sacrament meeting yesterday. We sang the sacrament hymn in great reverance and then bowed our heads while the sacrament was being blessed. As I leaned forward to place my arms on my knees, my eyes filled with tears. Every ounce of anger, exhaustion, defeat, failure, and utter pain from the week previous hit me in that moment. All the angry people, all the offensive words, the lack of success, the self-doubt...everything. I nearly felt as though I would be swallowed up in this pain. What a terribly hard moment, but what a wonderful place be amidst that trial of defeat. I imagined myself walking towards the Sacrament table and placing my broken self before it; humbly asking my Savior to make me whole again.Praying for strength and courage to carry forward. As my tears continued to fall, I felt my Savior putting me back together. The broken pieces of my body were not bonded back together with glue, but with His love. I felt Him literally help me from the floor, stand me up straight, and dust off the dirt from the week previous. What a sacred representation this was for me.
Leicester Zone! A bunch of goons

So, we drew a big family tree in town and found people through family history. So cool!

      The demands of mission life are, most days, more than I can possibly bear alone (hence why we need the angels to bear us up). We give every single ounce of happiness and joy that we have to everyone else and sometimes when we come home, we are empty. Drained from giving of ourselves and pondering how we could possibly give any more?! But, when we step back and think of our Savior, who literally gave His all, our "every single ounce" is only a small measure to what He gave to us. So, when I am asked why I would ever do something this hard for 18 months, I smile and say "Because I love my Savior. And I know that he will provide me with strength sufficient enough to serve him for these precious 18 months." 
Saturday morning basketball makes me rejoice greatly! I totally feel like Whoopie when I play in a skirt, but you gotta do what you gotta do! :) #nun

      It is true. I could not serve Him without the strength that he provides. For without His strength, this experience would be nearer enduring rather than enjoying. I am blessed to know that I am loved. I am thankful to know that I am not alone. I am thankful that the trial of defeat is but a small moment and to know that my rescuer is standing nigh, ready to save me from despair.
 I am thankful to know that my Savior loves me enough to cut me down and build me back up into who he needs me to be. What a blessing it is to be humbled and to be strengthened in my Savior. I feel so privileged to be serving Him here in England, alongside Sister Swasey. It is an absolute joy to be here, working hard to save souls. I love it! 

 I pray that you all know how joyful the Gospel of Jesus Christ is and can be once you dive into it. This Gospel is simple and only offers those who adhere to it, complete joy and eternal happiness. Dieter F Uchtdorf stated that "we should live the gospel joyfully!" If you are a member of this church and know it is true, there is no reason to be sad! Rejoice! You have the truth in front of you; so take it, soak it up, and then share it with all you know! Have hope in good things to come and work towards that happiness unceasingly. 

 I hope you all have a good week! Thank you for your prayers and all the love, please know that I am sending it all right back to you! 

               All my love,

                      Sister Sydney Jones

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