I hope all your weeks are going well! I am doing just great out here in North Carolina. We moved this week to a new apartment more in the country. There are horses, donkeys, and roosters down the street and we live on a dirt road. It is so beautiful and I love looking up at the wide open sky! It makes me so grateful for the Creation and this beautiful world we have been given. I think sometimes we just take for granted how perfect it is.
This week, we did this thing called "exchanges." My companion went to a different area close by with another sister, and then that sister's companion came to my area to work with me for a day. It was a great learning experience because I kind of had to be more responsible and lead out in teaching and everything. It stretched me a lot, but was good! I also got to drive during that, thank goodness for a GPS!!
Something I have learned a lot about this week is the importance of sticking to your commitments in the gospel and enduring tough times with faith. We work with a lot of less-active members of the church in the area trying to help them resolve their concerns and come back to church. I have learned how crucial it is to read and STUDY your scriptures daily, pray sincerely, and keep the commandments. These things are what keep us learning and improving, and if we stop them, it becomes so easy to fall to temptation or to lose sight of what we know to be true. So many of the people we talk to haven't been to church in years. But not because they don't believe it is true. Most of them have just gotten caught up in life and forgotten the little things that keep us strong. I know that life is hard, but it is made so much easier to handle as we exercise our faith in God and trust that if we obey His commandments, He will bless us! As we invite these people to begin to study the scriptures again and to pray, you can really see them remember their testimony and strive to be better and come back to church. I am learning so much how important it is that we love each other and reach out to those that are struggling. As we forget our own selfishness and try to help others, it makes our lives so much more fulfilling and we truly have the power to save people. I know that as we strive to do our best and to be more like Jesus Christ, our lives are blessed and we can do things we never thought possible. Believe me, I never thought I could be a missionary. If you had asked me just a few years ago, I would have said no way! But, as I have tried to learn more for myself and to discover if it was true, and as I have tried my best to read, pray, and be obedient, I have been able to do this. It is so hard, but so so worth it and I know that God is helping me so much to do what He needs me to do and to help His children come back to Him. I am so grateful to be here and I know that the gospel is true. I love you all!