Before I get into my week I just want to say thank you to all of you that support me. I got so many emails today from family members and friends telling me how much they love and support me. This week was a little rough on the self-esteem and you don't know how much those emails did to help me. So thank you!
This week was a huge learning experience. Extremely beneficial, but very tough. A good thing though is that our new ward mission leader is amazing. The B's have already helped us sooo much! His phrase is "I want to be the ward mission leader that actually does things." It has been such a blessing because I think the reason this area wasn't exploding is because we weren't working with the ward the way we needed to. But since we have had his help and have started getting more engaged in working with members, we are starting to see a huge change in our area!
This week we had exchanges. Oh man. They were beneficial and taught us a lot. But they were exhausting and very demoralizing. It's like the STLs have to seek out something wrong and if there isn't something wrong we are doing then they make things up. I never thought that when I was on a mission my integrity and my values would be questioned by other missionaries. They were asking me to agree with their opinions like their opinions were doctrine. I know that their intent is good, they are trying really hard to help the mission and they are good missionaries. But their actions aren't lining up with their intentions all of the time. I have been praying like crazy to know where the Lord is and to know when I am pressured to think or act a certain way if it is coming from the Lord or from man. We spent a long time talking about our mission and how to help the missionaries here because a lot of missionaries are falling apart. A lot of them are losing hope. It was interesting because I finally realized the impact I have as a missionary. Just naturally I have an impact on others, we all do, and I realized that I do need to help the leaders in helping other missionaries. We had a long conversation and I was talking about how the STLs are focusing too much on the problem: disobedience. When actually disobedience is the side product of other things like the loss of hope or purpose, being hurt or healing. People act out when they are hurt or don't understand who they are. That is where the problem needs to be addressed, not drilling obedience because no one is ever going to change if their hearts aren't open to hearing it. I thought it was super beneficial for me in learning what I need to do, what I don't agree with, and who I am and who God wants me to be as a missionary. I don't need to be a leader to make an impact. In fact, I can make more of an impact being just who I am - a disciple of Christ.
After exchanges my companion had an emotional break down, Sister Lynn doesn't cry. She is very unemotional. But they were so hard on her she just broke. It made me feel super protective of her. She is a good person. Sometimes she is a little judgmental and self righteous but she loves God and she never backs down from what matters most to her. She is a strong girl and takes everything that is thrown at her with so much grace and patience. I am so blessed to have a companion who pushes me to be better and helps stay true to her values as well.
We found a new investigator this week! It is one of Brother B's friends from Westminster College. Her name is Kaitlyn and she is awesome. She has a lot of amazing questions and is truly interested in the "welfare of her soul". It was a good lesson and we can't wait to see where we will go.
Well I am running out of time at the library but I want to end with what I learned this week.
Do you guys remember the talk from conference, "Which Way Do You Face"? Well, that is what I learned this week. Which way do I face? I have come to the realization that throughout the rest of my life I will always have people pushing me to back down from my values and who will question what I stand for and seek to destroy the integrity I have. This is nothing new and it is something that won't leave any time soon. But when the day comes to an end and I get on my knees, there is only one person that I report to. And when I wake up in the morning there is only one person I have to look in the face. I know that feeling of emptiness at the end of the day for changing who I was to please those around me and I know the deep confusion it brings till I am left alone and broken. So regardless if it is those that do not share the same faith as me or even those who do, at the end of the day what matters is that I still have my integrity, that I did not falter in the face of intimidation. Because when all that is said and done, I want to love myself as the Savior loves me. He truly sees the divinity that is within me and if I face him and move forward with faith, one day I will be able to look him in the face and be proud of who I am and who I became.
I LOVE YOU! Don't ever forget that.
Love - Sister Lundskog