From the perspective of her friends the Strong's

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 22, 2013 - HelllOOOO

To those that I love,
Hmm. This week was pretty great. Because I got a GOONIES t-shirt. Hand delivered to my Branch Presidents home, by my very own parents. Happiness.
You might have wondered at some point in my bizzaro e-mails home, why I haven't mentioned the people we are teaching. Well, I feel..not right about doing that. These are people's lives, and who I am to be publishing it? Pictures maybe, if I ask them. But One day, when it's just you and me, and the setting and tone of the conversation is appropriate, I will probably share some of these sacred experiences I am only privileged to be a part of.
This week, Heavenly Father taught me something really special. I was on exchanges with another Hermana, and we were keeping each other awake talking about "the one" Let me go back in time a little bit. A returned sister missionary came back to the branch to visit, and I asked her who in the branch she played a part in teaching. She pointed to one of my favorite families, and said that, that was all. She was here in this area for 14 months. She said everyone else she taught went in-active. In the end, it was all for this one family. Almost the entirety of her mission, seeing as some of those 18 months were spent in the MTC. So her mission, in full, was for this one beautiful family. So I got to thinking, that maybe this really is all for just one. And how, that needs to be enough. I am one, therefore it would only be fair if I spent my mission in the serivce of the one. One for one. But, Heavenly Father does not often have this be the scenario. There are many that need us, but it was important for me to put my time here in perspective, and let it be enough if it was for only one. So anyways, Hermana Petersen and I were discussing this through the night, and declaring that they are so worth it, and that though difficult, we would always keep this perspective. Because, you say these things, knowing they are true, but what is left on the opposite side? If the whole mission were for one, that would mean that every other person would disappoint you, break your heart, slam the door, or So. The next morning, we get up, and I feel very strongly that we just need to go to every in-active, and anyone on the branch directory who we have never seen, and go out to them. Go find them, and bring them to church. So we did just that. It took the whole of our day. And more than half had moved. The other half were not home. And so, after mapping out our route, eating 80 miles of the mission vehicle, and not contacting a single person on the list, we found ourselves with a few minutes left, and one more family. You can guess what happens next. A girl answers the door. She is only 17, and the most prepared for the gospel than anyone I have met thus far. She has been studying the book of Esther in her spare time, and..she's just incredible. Her family is inactive, and she is not baptized. I can't do the story justice over e-mail, or anything for that matter. Heavenly Father taught us, and tried the very testimony of the words we had said the night before. Our whole day was a doosy, but it was spent in the service of the one, and she was more than worth every failed attempt that day.
I love you all dearly,
Hermana Patton

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 15, 2013

I AM TRAINING. It's pretty great :) I received Hermana Peterson on Wednesday, and would have told you sooner, except they didn't tell me until Monday afternoon. Typically, you will get a call from the President asking you to train the weekend before transfers. And typically you will have been out several months before this takes place. BUT since this is a brand new mission, and there are so many missionaries coming out, I was asked to train Hermana Peterson, 21, waiting for her visa to Argentina. She is fabulous, and we will indeed be friends for a long time. She is always willing to work hard, and be positive, and we just have a good time. It's not a pain to be 100% obedient when you absoultely the person you are doing it with. We don't even notice the rules. We just work hard, pray constantly, enjoy the work, and being with each other, and we're happy! And seeing so many miracles! We have put three people on date since she arrived, and we are hoping her visa gets delayed indefinitely. I love her to death. We are living in a member's home, the Bonewells, and we are in love with them! I have been dying to have dogs, and they have three! It's so fun. Vancouver is the most beautiful place, and I feel so lucky to be in the beautiful half of the mission. The Kennewick side is just farmland. It is beautiful too...but it looks just like Spanish Fork.
We now have 12 missionaries in the branch hahahaa. Travis, Elder HOBBINS is our district leader! HAHA he loves you. We now have our very own Spanish Zone which is super fun; it's us and Portland. It is incredible to have 12 missionaries in the branch! It is only a sign to me that there are SO MANY people in Vancouver that are ready for this :D The people, the branch members. This place is going to erupt. With 12 of us, we fail if it doesn't! We are so excited!
I have never learned more in my time as a missionary than I have since I have started training. They literally do everything you do...and that is more than enough motivation for me to be an even better missionary than what I think my best is. It's a blessing and a privilege, and this is the just the best. Training is the best. I have to rely on the Lord 100%, whereas I used to rely on my trainer and the Lord, about equal parts. But now it's just the Lord. And I am the one she turns and looks at if ..not ime, love you

July 8, 2013 - Hello

I only have 2 minutes exactly, but know how much I love you.
You are incredible.
Hermana Patton

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 1, 2013 - Mi familia y mi amigos (yes I will be an annoying spanish speaking missionary that thinks they're cool because they know Spanish now)

So this week...
Haha what do I even tell you all? I got lots of love in the shape of packages and boxes :) I love you, thank you. Today is the first official day of the WA Vancouver mission. President and Sister Taylor are here now! So exciting! We'll meet them tomorrow.
What I can tell you is that the things that everyone say about the missionary being the greatest convert in their mission...are all true. The only things that I can prach and testify of are things that I have done, and learned, and know to be good and true. And it's so great that when you internalize a principle, you can finally share it. With your heart, not your brain.
It's a beautiful opportunity I have to learn Spanish. Because I work with people all over the globe; people that I never would have been able to communicate with before now. It makes me want to learn every language now! How sad to only have the ability to comminicate with one race or culture. Everyone in the world should be forced to learn cada idioma (every language). All thanks to Babel.
This week was really a dud. But only because I was a dud. I had zero desire. And there are two parts to missionary work: work, and desire! Without desire, the work can be unbearable. But I studied in the scriptures to find solutions, and Heavenly Father showed me the remedy! He always will. So do you want to know why I was struggling so much??...
 I am reading in 1 Nephi, where the storyline is basically split in half between Nephi and Laman & Lemuel. Everyone always compares and likens themselves to Nephi, and puts their name in place of his in many verses in the book of 1 Nephi. But lately, I have unintentionally been thinking of myself as Laman & Lemuel. And therein I found my answer. Laman & Lemuel are consistently doing wrong by the Lord and by Nephi. And every time, tey get chastised into being good again. The fear of God is placed in them, they beg Nephi's forgiveness, and repent. But then it's only a short time before the cycle starts again. I always wonder why they are so quick to reverting to wickedness and unhappiness, after they receive signs from the Lord. It's because they are motivated by fear. They can only stay happy for so long before things go rotten again, because they are fear-driven. I myself was wondering why one day was awesome, and the next, I want to leave. "Why is my happiness and desire so fleeting!!?" So I thought about my reasons for staying.
1) I'm afraid of what my family will think
2) I'm afraid of being judged by church members, and all those that helped me get here
3) I'm afraid of what all of the other RM's will think that returned after a full, faithful mission
4) I'm afraid about wasting the money and time of those that contributed
5) I'm afraid of figuring out my future when I get back
6) I'm afraid of not learning the lessons I need to, and can only learn here on this mission
7) I'm afraid that if I leave, I won't become the person God needs me to be
8) I'm afraid that I won't have the future and life that Heavenly Father has planned for me
Those are all of my reasons in full.
Can you see where I'm going wrong? The day I wrote these, I had zero positive reasons for staying. All of my reasons are motivated by fear. The reason why Nephi was consistently faithful and righteous, was because he had a sincere desire to serve His God. That is what I am looking for.
I love you all, and always will,
Hermana Patton