Sunday, August 24, 2014

I can't believe it's already been 1 year!

Hi Everyone!

We had quite the week this week! It definitely wasn't easy, but we had some special experiences and I grew a lot!

I can't believe it's already been 1 year! This has been an amazing ride that I wouldn't give up for the world. I've had such sacred experiences, met incredible people, seen countless miracles, and come to know my Savior better.

One spiritual experience that I was so grateful to be a part of happened on Friday. We were at our investigator, 조은정 (jo-un-jeung)'s house and met with her and her son. They had a little argument, but before we left we asked if we could say a prayer together. We invited 조은정 to pray and she said she didn't feel like praying because she was flustered, but did it anyway. As she prayed she thanked God for all her blessings, especially her son and cried. The spirit was strong and I was again reminded of the power and importance of prayer. It strengthens families and hearts.

I'm coming to find that "harvesting" an area can be difficult! This week my old companion, Sister An, gave a training and gave us a talk called, "Those whom I love I Rebuke and Chasten" by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. It really hit me. I think I have already emailed home about this analogy, but I really love it, so I'll do it again!

God uses another form of chastening or correction to guide us to a future we do not or cannot now envision but which He knows is the better way for us. President Hugh B. Brown, formerly a member of the Twelve and a counselor in the First Presidency, provided a personal experience. He told of purchasing a rundown farm in Canada many years ago. As he went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet (1.8 m) high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”
President Brown replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’”
Years later, President Brown was a field officer in the Canadian Army serving in England. When a superior officer became a battle casualty, President Brown was in line to be promoted to general, and he was summoned to London. But even though he was fully qualified for the promotion, it was denied him because he was a Mormon. The commanding general said in essence, “You deserve the appointment, but I cannot give it to you.” What President Brown had spent 10 years hoping, praying, and preparing for slipped through his fingers in that moment because of blatant discrimination. Continuing his story, President Brown remembered:
“I got on the train and started back … with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. … When I got to my tent, … I threw my cap on the cot. I clenched my fists, and I shook them at heaven. I said, ‘How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done—that I should have done—that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?’ I was as bitter as gall.
“And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, ‘I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.’ The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness. …
“… And now, almost 50 years later, I look up to [God] and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’”
God knew what Hugh B. Brown was to become and what was needed for that to happen, and He redirected his course to prepare him for the holy apostleship.

I know that God is helping me become the instrument He needs me to be. I love the Lord and want to serve Him with all of my heart! I'm so grateful to be able to be cut down to become refined into what God would have me be.

I feel God's strength everyday and know that He is real.

Have a wonderful week! Love you all!

Sister Naatjes :)

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