Saturday, February 6, 2016

Jan. 13, 2016

Okay mom and a few others wrote and complained that my letter was tiny last week and someone *ahem* mom threatened to no send my package if she didn't get a super long one today. However, there really wasn't too much crazyness that happened, but we will see what I can come up with. 
Okay well this week we have been really trying to strengthen our area and finding those that are prepared and ready to hear the gospel. Trust me, sounds easier said than done! Sometimes missionaries get caught up with turning in the numbers more than strengthening their wards. It's a balance game that we always have to play. So as we were going out this week we've felt like we really needed to start seeing more less actives and members then we had been seeing before. The bishop's family, the second counselor in the Stake Presidency, and the seminary teacher, just to name a few. And it was so nice to see how happy they were to have the missionaries over for family home evenings! I would have to say the bishop's house was our favorite because after we played a good game of JUMBO with their kids in the streets (it's like a game of tag).  It really made the bishop's wife happy and after she said, "I'm so glad you guys came over, it's been awhile and I almost thought you guys have forgotten about me". I felt bad to say the least! 
As the week ended and Sunday came around my companion and I were sitting in Relief Society when after the bishop's wife ended her lesson and then asked if she could share something with everyone. Then she continued by saying she felt impressed to mention the importance of Visiting Teaching. The visiting teaching program down here is really non-existent, which is super super sad, and in reality sometimes we take on the role as VT's down here. Anyway, she shared her testimony of how important this program was and how important it is to strengthen each other. Then she paused, and shared how she hadn't been visited by anyone for over 2 years and doesn't know who they are or if she has any! That definitely broke my heart! So that's one thing we want to help them strengthen. Sister Thompson gave a talk in General Conference and stated, " The beauty of Visiting Teaching is seeing lives changed, tears wiped away, testimonies growing, and families strengthened". 
I've been thinking a lot about my purpose here as a missionary. As missionaries our responsibility is, "inviting others to come unto Christ to recieve the restored gospel through faith, baptism, recieving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end". The more I've been in this area the more I've felt that my purpose as a missionary, but as a member is to INVITE others (including members and less actives) to COME BACK to Christ. Often times we think that we need to find more people and more people and we FORGET those around us. Sometimes we forget that even though they are members who have callings in the church, they have their own struggles and need just as much strengthening as those who maybe are less active or don't have the gospel in their lives. Just like the bishop's wife in my ward. She's a strong woman in the church, her husbands the bishop, she has a calling, has a wonderful family, and goes to church every Sunday. But, until she shared with us her personal struggles the other sisters and I had no idea of what she was feeling, but now what other sister might be feeling. 
As members of the church of Jesus Christ,our responsibility is (Mosiah 18:8-9), "to be willing to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort...." So there has been so much that I have learned this week to say the least, and it wasn't the easiest way to learn it either! I've learned that as disciples of Jesus Christ we have the responsibility to care for and serve our brothers and sisters in our ward. I can defnitely say I was not the best at visiting teaching when I was at college, but now I can say that it's definitely more than just a number or a check list of things to do for the month. SO PLEASE, do your home/visiting teaching! It's important!  
Hermana Van Woerkom 

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